Category Archives: Native Americans

Black Hawk: Ute Indian Chief

Published / by Jennifer Talkington / Leave a Comment

Write up by: Jennifer Talkington

Placed By: Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)

GPS Coordinates: 40 0’16” N 111 44’48” S

Historical Marker Text Transcript: “BLACK HAWK – UTE INDIAN CHIEF When the Ute Indian Chief, Black Hawk, died on September 27, 1870 near Spring Lake and was buried by his tribe in a nearby ravine, there was laid to rest a man designated by Brigham Young as “The most formidable foe amongst the Redman” that the pioneers had encountered in many years. These words were prompted by the memory of Chief Black Hawk’s part in Utah’s worst Indian war which ended in 1867. The war commenced in April 1865 at Manti, Sanpete County. Three years later, when the Indians were finally brought to terms, 51 settlers had been killed and 25 settlements abandoned in 5 counties. The seriousness of the Indian depredations was such that during the three-year war, over 4,700 men of the Territorial Militia were called into service. Expenses incurred during the war were in excess of one and one half million dollars. Although scattered Indian raids continued into the summer of 1868, the Black Hawk War was regarded as officially closed in 1867.”

Historical Marker in Spring Lake Photo by: Jennifer Talkington
Close up of the emblem on the Historical Marker. Photo by Jennifer Talkington

Extended Research:

The Black Hawk War was fought between the Ute Indians and the Mormon settlers in central and southern Utah between 1865 and 1872. Tensions between the groups had been building since the Mormon settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 due to struggles over resources. The Mormon settlers chose the best land to settle, took productive fisheries such as Utah Lake, took timber, drove game away and diverted critical water sources for irrigating crops, leaving the Native people of Utah destitute and starving.[1] After almost twenty years of living together in relative peace, tensions became too much. No one single event sparked the war, as many skirmishes were happening on a small scale all around central and southern Utah. However, many historians suggest that a disagreement between two men boiled over into warfare in April of 1865.[2] A young Ute man named Jake Arapeen rode into Manti with Black Hawk and met up with John Lowry, a Mormon settler and employee of the United States Indian Office, to discuss the tensions. The discussion led to a heated argument between the two men. In anger, John Lowry pulled Jake Arapeen off his horse by his hair and they fought on the ground. Seeing this as the lowest of insults, Jake Arapeen and Black Hawk rode off together and that day decided an all-out war against the Mormons was the only option.[3]

The fiercest of the fighting took place between 1865 and 1867. Both sides were perpetrators during this war and sadly most of the victims were innocent of depredations. The Circleville Massacre of April 1866 was one such horrible event to come out of the Black Hawk War. A friendly group of Paiute Indians were camped near Circleville when a church order came down to disarm the Indians. The Mormon settlers were interested in self-preservation and so decided to round up the Paiutes and put them in a meeting house under security. Two Paiutes managed to break free and were shot as they were getting away. Paranoia got the best of the settlers and they decided they should kill the twenty-four remaining Paiutes.[4]  Brigham Young was disgusted by the murders and “later said that the curse of God rested upon the Circle Valley and its inhabitants because of it.”[5]

Also in 1866, the Ute’s raided horses and cattle from Scipio and the surrounding area totaling 350 head of cattle, a huge loss for Mormon settlers. As the settlers tried to regain their cattle, the Battle of Gravelly Ford began. The Mormons and the Utes exchanged gunfire, killing a 14-year-old Mormon boy and James Russell Ivie. During the battle, Black Hawk was shot in the stomach, but the Ute’s managed to escape.

In 1867, Black Hawk was sick from an infection caused by the bullet wound he received in the Battle of Gravelly Ford. He saw that his people could not win the war as the Mormon population kept increasing. Black Hawk decided he would go on a campaign of peace. He personally visited many Mormon villages he had raided to apologize for the pain he and his warriors caused. He was laid to rest on September 27, 1870 in the same place as his birth: Spring Lake Utah.[6]

Spring Lake in January. The place that Black Hawk was born and where he was buried. Photo by Jennifer Talkington

The death of Black Hawk did not bring an end to this war. The Ute people were starving, their population decimated through disease and loss of game. Periodic raids to avoid starvation continued by the Utes until 1872.[7] It was in 1872 that the federal troops took control of the area as the Nauvoo Legion was dismantled. The federal troops strictly forced the Utes to remain on the Uintah Reservation. Once the Mormon settlers were free from raids, they were able to go back to previously abandoned settlements. They also used Chief Black Hawk’s raiding trails to expand their territory even further.[8] This historical marker is in need of an update, as we now know that the number of settlers killed was at least 70.[9] It is thought that at least 140 Native Americans died during this conflict, likely more. The result of the war for the Utes was a move to the Uintah Reservation, giving up their traditional lifestyle for a life of dependency on the United States Government.  The result of the war for the Mormon settlers was the unimpeded colonization of Utah Territory, leading the way to statehood in 1896.[10]

[1] Gottfredson, Peter, ed. (1919). History of Indian Depredations in Utah. (Salt Lake City: Fenestra Books,2002), 20-22.

[2] Peterson, John Alton. Utah’s Black Hawk War. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1998), 16.

[3] Peterson, Black Hawk, 17.

[4] Jones, Sondra. Being and Becoming Ute: The Story of an American Indian People. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2019), 166.

[5] Wells, Quentin Thomas Wells. Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells. (Boulder: Utah State University Press, 2016), 280.

[6] Gottfredson, Depredations, 227.

[7] Jones, Becoming Ute, 172.

[8] Petersen, Black Hawk, 396.

[9] Peterson, Black Hawk,  2.

[10] May, Dean. Utah: A People’s History. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987).

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Gottfredson, Peter, ed. (1919). History of Indian Depredations in Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Fenestra Books.

Secondary Sources:

May, Dean. Utah: A People’s History. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987).

Jones, Sondra. Being and Becoming Ute: The Story of an American Indian People. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 2019.

Peterson, John Alton. Utah’s Black Hawk War. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1998.

Wells, Quentin Thomas Wells. Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells. Boulder, Colorado: Utah State University Press, 2016.

Spring City

Published / by Jessica Guynn / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Jessica Guynn

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 158

GPS Coordinates:  39.4794986, -111.4965053

Historical Marker Text:

This spring was long used by Indians and early scouts as a camp site. James Allred, directed by Brigham Young, on March 22, 1852, led his sons and their families here to build their homes. In 1853 a large colony of Scandinavian immigrants joined them. The waters of canal creek and natural springs supplied the settlers twice. The Indians drove them out burning their fort and all their possessions; but in 1859, they returned to establish permanently the town of Spring City. Canal Creek Camp. San Pete County.

Extended Research:

In 1980 the U.S. government designated the entire town of Spring City as a National Historic District for its significance as an example of Mormon settlement patterns and for its well-preserved construction using geologically unique, Sanpete oolite limestone. [1]

After crossing the plains to Utah from Missouri in 1847, James Allred was assigned by the Latter-Day Saint Prophet, Brigham Young, to leave the Salt Lake Valley with his extended family in 1852 and settle an area to the Southeast known by the Mormons as Sanpete County.

Allred’s journal recorded, “I remained in Manti City, Sanpete Co. until the Spring of 1852, when according to the council of President Young, father and I moved 16 miles north and started a new settlement. [2]

Allred patterned his frontier village after the architectural plan created by Church founder Joseph Smith to build Zion, the ideal city. The template called for wide streets dividing symmetrical blocks of five acres. Center lots provided space for religious structures and businesses, while surrounding blocks accommodated individual acre lots for homes.[3]

Likewise, survey maps for Spring City display a grid of streets dividing the land into analogous squares, thus imprinting urban order onto the wilderness. [4] The plat called for private residences to be constructed of brick or stone and set back from the street to allow for both a front yard and garden behind.

Farmers utilized open space outside the village for their crops, allowing inhabitants to live centrally rather than spread themselves as distant neighbors among their fields.

Villagers eventually called Allred’s eponymous settlement Spring City after a natural effusion of cold, clear water at its center. It was one of nearly 500 communities across the West to imitate Smith’s original design, thus shaping the nascent urban landscape in the Great Basin and California. [5]

However, Mormon pioneers were not the first to claim the Sanpete valley as their home. The Ute tribe had inhabited the land for hundreds of years, migrating from the south perhaps as early as 1000 CE and establishing settlements throughout the Great Basin. [6] Ute Chief Wakara, who had grown rich from trade with trappers and Spanish colonists in New Mexico, initially viewed the pioneers as trading partners and allowed them to settle the Ute tribal hunting grounds east of the Wasatch mountains. However, tensions between villagers and tribespeople grew when Mormons sought to regulate Ute raids and sales of livestock and captives that had become their currency. [7]

Isolated acts of theft and violence increasingly led to open hostilities that culminated in the Walker War and the destruction of the entire town of Spring City by fire in 1854. [8] Settlers fled to nearby Fort Manti and didn’t return until 1859 after the withdrawal of federal troops from the Utah War (1857-58) between Mormon settlers and the U.S. government over territorial sovereignty. [9]

A large group of newly arrived Danish converts, many of whom were skilled stonemasons, joined the original villagers in reestablishing and rebuilding Spring City. Their chief material was a geologically unique Sanpete oolite limestone found in nearby outcroppings. Abundant and easily accessible, craftsmen prized the stone for its creamy hue and pliability. Oolite was the principal element of both public and private structures that began to fill the town. Stonemasons crafted churches, homes and civic buildings.

Perhaps most notable is the Spring City LDS Chapel for its intricate oolite brickwork.[10] Many of these structures still stand as monuments to pioneer industry and resilience.

[1[ “The Founding of Spring City” (accessed: February 21, 2020)

[2] Allred, James Tillman Sanford. Diary. (1825-1905).

[3] “Plat of the City of Zion, circa Early June–25 June 1833,” p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed April 1, 2020,

[4] Burr, David H. “Survey Maps.” N.P, 1857. Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, Spring City, UT.

[5] Provost, Claire. “Building Zion: the controversial plan for a Mormon-inspired city in Vermont,” The, (accessed: February 20, 2020)

[6] Wimmer, Ryan Elwood, “The Walker War Reconsidered” (2010). All Theses and Dissertations. (accessed: April 1, 2020). P. 21

[7] Ibid, 53

[8] Antrei, Albert C.T. and Roberts, Allen D. Utah Centennial County History Series – Sanpete County. Utah State Historical Society and Sanpete County Commission, 1999. P. 71 

[9] Poll, Richard D. and MacKinnon, William P. “Causes of the Utah War Reconsidered”  Journal of Mormon History, Vol 20 (Fall 1994): P. 17

[10] Parry, William T. “A majestic Building Stone: Sanpete Oolite Limestone,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol 81 (Winter 2013): P. 55

Pioneers of Antimony

Published / by Eric Montague / 4 Comments on Pioneers of Antimony

Pioneers of Antimony

Write-up: Eric Cecil Montague

Placed By: Daughters of Utah Pioneers Forrest Camp · · · Garfield County (1949)

G.P.S. Coordinates: 38° 6.907′ N, 111° 59.8′ W

Historical Marker Text:

In 1873, Albert Guiser and others located in a fertile meadow, which they named Grass Valley. Surveyors camped on a stream, lassoed a young coyote and called the place Coyote Creek. The first L.D.S. settlers were Isaac Riddle and family, who took up land on the east fork of the Sevier River. Later, a school house was built, and the Marion Ward organized with Culbert King as bishop. In 1920 the name was officially changed to Antimony after the antimony mines east of the valley.

A picture on the day of the dedication of the marker with Antimony townswomen – Amber Riddle and Maude Wiley on the left and Esther Mathews and Ethel Savage on the right. (Courtesy of the Mayor’s Office – Antimony, Utah)

Extended Research:

The history of Antimony is a story of diverse groups making a home in a beautiful valley. Much like the story of Utah at large, these groups consisted of Native Americans, early settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (L.D.S.), and miners. The fertile valley of Antimony has been known by several names over the years: Clover Flat[1], Grass Valley[2], Coyote[3], and after 1920, Antimony. The latest name was chosen because of the abundant antimony mines in the canyons that surround Antimony and the mining industry that the mineral supported. This valley is covered in lush grass that is naturally irrigated by Otter Creek and the East Fork of the Sevier River.

The primary native people of the valley were Southern Paiute Native Americans. Previously, approximately 10,000 years ago, early native peoples, including the Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan peoples, inhabited Southern Utah.[4] Twenty-seven miles south of Antimony, at the ranch of Jeff Rex, archaeologists found ruins known as the North Creek Shelter Site. These ruins provide insight into the lives of the native peoples that inhabited the area before European settlement. The site, used as temporary shelter by many generations of hunters and travelers, contains artifacts from the Paiutes and earlier native peoples. Artifacts found at North Creek include stone tools, farming equipment, projectiles for hunting, pottery, and other common native objects.[5] The item from the North Creek site that received the most acclaim was a wild potato; this is the earliest documented use of potatoes in North America.[6]

North Creek Shelter Site

The more recent peoples of the region are linguistic relatives of the Utes, known as the Kaiparowits Band of the Southern Paiute.[7] Shoshone bands also occupied the area. Both groups used the substance now known as antimony (a very brittle, bluish-white metallic substance),[8] which they extracted from the canyons around Grass Valley,[9] for tools and weaponry. This Southern Paiute band engaged with Europeans (Mormon settlers and the U.S. Army) during the Black Hawk War (1865–1872), and Europeans settled permanently in the region shortly thereafter. The small Southern Pauite band that lived in Grass Valley called themselves the Paw Goosawd Uhmpuhtseng or Water Clover People.[10]

The earliest Anglo-European contact with the region occurred as a result of the Spanish Trail and the John C. Fremont explorations. A trading path off the Old Spanish Trail called the Gunnison trail was used during the 1830s and 1840s. The trail split at the summit of Salt Creek in Salina Canyon. From there, the path passed through Seven Mile Canyon and Fish Lake, descended along Otter Creek, and continued along the Sevier to the Pahvant Mountains.[11] Trading caravans used this path to supply two economies: goods and slaves. The most prominent trade goods were furs, buckskin, and dried buffalo meat. In addition, the Ute people sold captured Southern Paiutes as slaves to the Spanish traders.[12] Later, in the winter of 1853–1854, Captain John C. Fremont made his fifth and final expedition to the Western territories. During this expedition, Fremont encountered harsh weather and searched for safety. After a long trip through the San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef, and the Awapa Plateau, Fremont and his group followed Otter Creek into Grass Valley, and there found shelter and recuperated.[13] The party later continued to Parowan for further recovery. In a letter to his sister about his trials, Fremont wrote that “the Mormons saved me and mine from death and starvation.”[14]

During the Black Hawk War, Mormon settler Captain James Andrus received orders from Brigadier General Erastus Snow to conduct a reconnaissance mission throughout Southern Utah to ascertain the strength of Native American communities in the region. This group passed through Grass Valley on September 4, 1866. In Grass Valley, the soldiers found the most “extensive” defense works they had ever encountered, erected by the Southern Paiutes.[15]

Brigham Young, then president of the L.D.S. Church, organized the first Mormon exploration party into Grass Valley in 1873, following the end of the Black Hawk War. The group included Albert K. Therber, William Jex, Abraham Holladay, General William Pace, George Bean, and George Evans. Throughout Southern Utah, Chief Tabiona of the Shoshone tribe served as their guide. During their exploration of Southern Utah, on June 18, 1873, they camped at what is known today as Antimony Bench. That evening, they recorded in their journal that “We were just going to camp for the night when we saw an old coyote with three young ones. We gave chase and caught the little ones, cut their ears off short, tied a paper collar around one’s neck and turned them loose. We named the stream Coyote.”[16] Thus, Grass Valley was renamed Coyote.

In 1873, the first European settler arrived in the valley: Albert Guiser. Guiser and his family owned mines in Oregon, namely the Bonanza, the Brazos, the Pyx, and the Worley mines. He likely came to Utah as a mining speculator because of the propaganda surrounding Utah during the national mining fervor and its promised mineral riches. Guiser established a cattle operation in the valley as well, yet did not establish a permanent settlement or buildings in Coyote, only visiting during summer.[17]

To understand the account of Antimony’s first permanent settlers, one must be acquainted with the practice by the adherents of the Mormon faith known as the United Order. The United Order, established by Brigham Young, was an economic concept based on cooperative and communitarian ideals. In the Order, all property was held in common, whereby its participants’ goal was to become self-sufficient from the external world. Most United Order communities only lasted a few years before dissolving.[18] Two Order communities that had lasting effects on Antimony were Kingston and Circleville. John Rice King, son of the leader of the Order in Kingston, purchased the Antimony Guiser cattle operation as part of the Order.[19] Two prominent future leaders of Antimony came from United Order communities: Isaac Riddle and Culbert King, from Kingston and Circleville, respectively. Riddle used Grass Valley to graze the Order’s cooperative beef herd. The Order from Kingston built a dairy beside Riddle’s ranch in Antimony.[20] After the dissolution of the Order in 1878, Isaac, Culbert, and others came to Grass Valley.

Isaac Riddle was the first permanent settler in Coyote. Riddle was born in Boone County, Kentucky, where his family converted to the Mormon faith and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. He enjoyed his time making shingles for the Nauvoo temple. Riddle spoke of the challenges that he encountered from the “mobbers of Illinois,” who persecuted the Mormons. He also described the troubles of 1844 that the Mormons encountered in Nauvoo at the murder of the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Notably, he wrote a description of Smith’s death, stating that “he cannot tell how we felt.” For the next six years, while migrating to Utah, Riddle endured numerous trials. His three-year journey to Winter Quarters in Omaha resulted in his “destitute condition.” To add further challenges, Riddle’s father left him in charge of the family in Omaha for two years when he was only 17 years old. After his arrival in Utah, Brigham Young called on Riddle and Jacob Hamblin to go on a mission to Southern Utah to improve relations with the native people.[21] Riddle’s exploration of Utah resulted in his acquisition of a vast estate throughout Southern Utah. In 1875, Riddle and his son, Isaac Jr., built ranches on the east fork of the Sevier River in Grass Valley.[22] Isaac and his son had explored the area the year before and assessed it to be perfect for cattle because of its abundant water and natural meadows. In addition to Riddle, John Hunt, Joseph Hunt, Gideon Murdock, and Walter Hyatt all used Antimony for cattle grazing.[23] Riddle was a shrewd businessman. To this end, he allotted a part of his ranches as a stopover for travelers on their way to Hole-In-The-Rock.[24] Riddle’s financial interests not only included ranches, but he also established many grist mills and sawmills throughout the region. After the dissolution of the United Order, Riddle owned thousands of cattle, sheep, and horses. He was also a polygamist with multiple wives, which resulted in his incarceration, along with George Q. Cannon, an apostle of the L.D.S. Church, from September 1887 to February 1888 for polygamy under the Edmunds Tucker Act. Riddle died on September 1, 1906.

Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle in Prison for Polygamy with George Q. Cannon (L.D.S. Apostle) Riddle is the in the second row, first person on left side

In 1878, around the Riddle Ranch, the town of Antimony began when thirty-three Mormon families—some of whom were friends of the Riddles—moved into the valley. The most noteworthy among the settlers were the Eliza Esther McCullough, Elizabeth Ann Callister, Sarah Elizabeth Pratt, Lydia Ann Webb, and Culbert King families; the Eliza Syrett and Volney King family; the Helen Maria Webb and John King family; the Mary Theodocia Savage and John Dingman Wilcox family; the Esther Clarinda King and George Black family; the Polly Ann Ross and Culbert Levi King family; the Christina Brown and Mortimer W. Warner family; the Charles E. Rowen family; the Knute Peterson family; the Peter Neilson family; and the James Huff family.[25]

Antimony Post Office 1896

Of the first settlers in Antimony, one prominent member of the community, Culbert King, became the spiritual leader of the early Mormon settlers. King was born on January 31, 1836, in the state of New York. His parents joined the L.D.S. Church and moved to Illinois. In Nauvoo, the King family became acquainted with the religious leader, Joseph Smith. Following Smith’s murder they joined the migration of the Saints in 1846, arriving in Utah in 1851. Shortly after their arrival, Brigham Young sent the Kings to Fillmore, Millard County, where they erected the first house in the area. King served as a soldier during both the Walker and Black Hawk wars. Afterward, he became a friend to the Southern Paiutes and became somewhat proficient in speaking their language. After staying for 15 years in Kanosh, he moved to Circleville, Piute County, where he lived in the United Order for several years and served as a member of the ecclesiastical leadership there until the Order dissolved. He then relocated to Grass Valley and, in 1882, became bishop of the L.D.S. ward. From December 1885 to June 1886, he was imprisoned for polygamy. He continued to serve as bishop until 1901 when he was released and ordained a patriarch by Apostle Francis M. Lyman. He died on October 29, 1909. He and his wives were all buried in Antimony.[26]

Culbert King

Culbert King with Primary Assocation

The most prominent non-Mormon settler and early miner in Antimony was Archibald Munchie Hunter. After emigrating from Scotland to the United States through Boston in 1851, Hunter’s career took him across the nation. In 1874, he arrived in Utah and resided in Sevier County as a breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. In 1879, he joined the settlers in Antimony. That he felt at home in Antimony is no surprise, given the communitarian beliefs of the town founders and Hunter’s prominence as a socialist. He spent the rest of his life there, supporting himself by providing supplies to various mining speculations, running a hotel, and raising and exporting his horses to Scotland. The successful mining efforts of Hunter and others gave the town its current name—Antimony—after the mineral that he and others mined in the canyons above the town. When he moved to Antimony in 1879, Hunter became chairman of the school board, and residents who experienced financial difficulties testified to Hunter’s generosity. Hunter cared for his sister, Jane Talbot, and her five children in his home, which he also ran as a hotel. He died in Antimony in 1931 and was buried in Salt Lake City.[27]

Archibald M. Hunter

Archibald Hunter with Family in front of his hotel

Archibald, as a school board trustee and benefactor, is significant to another group of Antimony pioneers: its earliest women. Female pioneers in Antimony influenced the town substantially, most notably as teachers and nurses. Carrie Henry, Lydia Tebbs Winters, and Esther Clarinda Black were the first teachers in Coyote. In 1882, at the home of George Black, the first schoolhouse was built, and in 1885, the school found its more permanent residence in the newly built church, until a dedicated school building was built in 1916. The school’s most remembered teacher was Esther Clarinda Black. One of her students, Lillian McGillvra Abbott, remembered her as having a “pleasant disposition.”[28] Black’s daughter, Esther Black Matthews, revered her mother. She recalled that Black began to teach out of necessity to provide for her family while her husband, George Black, served a mission for the L.D.S. Church in England.[29] Black’s impact on the community cannot be understated due to her effect on the town’s children. Black served for 23 years as the town leader of the youth organization of the L.D.S. Church, named the Primary Association, thus influencing the education and spiritual lives of the town’s children.[30]

Lydia Tebbs Winters with Antimony School Children

In addition to teaching, Esther was also a midwife. Midwifery and nursing were vital to the health of the young town. The first baby born in Antimony was Forrest King, son of John R. and Helen King, on April 1, 1879.[31] Some of the most esteemed nurses were Catherine Wilcox Webb and her two daughters, Helen Matilda Webb King and Lydia Webb Huntley,[32] among whom Catherine’s history is remarkable. Her first husband was Eber Wilcox, a member of Zion’s Camp, a Mormon militia organized by Joseph Smith to reclaim property stolen from members of the faith by Missourians. Wilcox died of cholera while on the Zion’s Camp expedition at Fishing River.[33] Joseph Smith officiated over Catherine’s marriage to her second husband, John Webb, in Kirtland, Ohio.[34] Catherine and her family came to Utah as original overland pioneers with the James Pace Company in 1850[35] and settled in Fillmore. After Catherine’s husband was killed guarding the fort at Fillmore during the Black Hawk War,[36] she joined her children in Coyote. She and her daughters were excellent nurses. Upon Catherine’s death, her obituary said of her that “her sphere of usefulness was unbounded as she assisted at the birth of many and at the bedside of the sick. She knew her profession well and was extensively known and well-beloved by all her acquaintances.”[37]

Catherine Wilcox Webb

From its humble pioneer beginnings, the town now known as Antimony made its mark on the Utah history in both the 19th and 20th centuries. The infamous Butch Cassidy and his group of criminal outlaws often frequented the area when it was known as Coyote and one-time marshal George Black encountered the gang there.[38] The telephone line arrived in Antimony in 1912, permanently connecting the town to the outside world.[39] That same decade, Antimony contributed in two ways to World War I. First, it sent eight of its young men to serve: Alonzo Black, Nelo Brindley, Loril Carpenter, Glen Crabb, Wilford Davis, Gus Lambson, David Nicholes, and Arnold Smoot. All eight returned home with honorable discharges. In addition to its soldiers, two antimony mines shipped ore to ammunition plants as part of the war effort. Following the war, the global influenza pandemic claimed four of Antimony’s residents: George Jolley, Arella Smoot, Thomas Ricketts, and Nephi Black.[40]

The official incorporation of Antimony as a town occurred in 1934, during the peak of its population. The 1880 census counted the town’s population as 125, and it rose in the 1920s and 1930s to its all-time peak of 290. It then precipitously declined until it began to rise again in 2000 and is just over 130 today. In 1938, The Works Progress Administration of the New Deal brought culinary water to Antimony.[41] Its population decline over the 20th century is a result of the difficulties of farming and mining in the region. The antimony mines closed after World War I. Without mining, Antimony had to rely solely on its agriculture. Antimony has always been a farming community, with the potato as its most common crop. The former importance of potato farming is demonstrated all over Antimony today in the potato cellar derelicts that dot the highway and roads throughout town.

Antimony Potato Cellar

While World War II was raging half a world away, L.D.S. Apostle Marion G. Romney spoke at the dedication of the newly built Antimony Ward chapel on April 23, 1944. In his dedicatory prayer, Romney prayed for those from Antimony and the rest of the U.S. who were serving overseas. He said, “Bless our boys and girls in the armed services who are spread out upon the earth in this great war.”[42] Antimony sent the following young men to battle in World War II: Lark Allen, Wayne Allen, Burns Black, Noel Black, Dean Crabb, Keith Crabb, Keith Gates, Robert Gates, Dahl Gleave, Marthell Gleave, George Jolley, R.J. Jolley, Arthell King, Darral King, Eugene King, Fount Lambson, Boyd Lindquist, Verl McInelly, Alton Mathews, Dasel Mathews, Gerald Mathews, Calvin Montague, Cecil Montague, Arden Nay, Clinton Nay, Harvey Nay, Merrill Nay, Guyle Riddle, Ted Riddle, James Sandberg, Lynn Savage, LaMaun Sorenson, Harmon Steed, Robert Steed, Arther Twitchell, Clarence Twitchell, Ephrium Twitchell, Grant Warner, Robert O. Warner, Warren Wildon, Carling Young, and Verl Young. All of these men returned home, except for three who were killed in action: Lark Allen, Ted Riddle, and Arther Twitchell. On Friday, May 30, 1947, the town held a service in honor of its war veterans. It was presided over by the president of the Panguitch L.D.S. Stake, Douglas Q. Cannon, and the bishop of the L.D.S. ward, Chester Allen, who had lost his son, Lark.

Antimony War Veterans Plaque – WWI & WWII

Dedicatory Services for Bronze Plaque Program Cover

Dedicatory Services for Bronze Plaque Program Inside

In 1946, electricity arrived in Antimony. The first home in which the Garkane Power Company installed its service was that of Avera and Ivan Montague.[43] Throughout the first half of the 20th century, dances were held in one of the canyons leading out of Antimony at the Purple Haze dance hall. When it opened, for 50 cents, people from towns around Antimony came to hear the live orchestra and dance late into the night as the sunset cast a purple haze over the canyon. The dance hall closed in the 1960s as the popularity of social dancing subsided.[44]

Throughout the last half of the 20th century, Antimony’s population dwindled, even dipping below 100 residents in 1990. One reason for this was the declining potato crop industry and other farming struggles.[45] Another reason was the pull factor that drew the younger generations of Antimony into larger cities. Population decline usually has a negative economic effect on rural towns. The impact of this is evident in the median income of Antimony households dropping to $22,500 in 2010, as reported by the 2010 census. However, since its lowest population point, Antimony is rebounding, largely due to its tourism and recreational significance, as the town is on the route to Bryce Canyon, a U.S. National Park. Antimony also has the advantage of being part of the American Discovery Trail, a non-motorized trail that one can use to travel across middle America. The trail is “a new breed of national trail—part city, part small town, part forest, part mountains, part desert—all in one trail. Its 6,800+ miles of continuous, multi-use trail stretches from Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, to Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California.”[46] Furthermore, Mayor Shannon Allen has brought popularity to Antimony with a fireworks display every Independence Day. Antimony is home to many highly popular attractions: the Antimony Mercantile, Otter Creek Reservoir, and the Rockin’ R Ranch. The “Merc” is well-known for its half-pound Antimony Burger, the Rockin’ R for its dude ranch experience, and Otter Creek for its unprecedented trout fishing. As its citizens attest, Antimony owns a special place in Utah’s history.


Primary Sources

Abbott, Lillian McGilvra. My Life Story. No Date.

Deseret News (July 1884): 16.

Garfield County News (April 1923): 6.

The Engineering and Mining Journal (1896).

The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals 1 (1832–1839).

Fremont, Capt. J. C. Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the year 1842 and to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-44. Washington: Gales and Seaton, printers, 1845.

King, Culbert Biographical Sketch of Culbert Levi King. No Date.

Mathews, Esther Black. A Short Sketch of My Life: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. 1947.

Riddle, Isaac. “Autobiography of Isaac Riddle.” In The Descendants of John Riddle, edited by Chauncey Cazier Riddle, 2003.

Utah Department of Heritage & Arts. “Archibald Murchie Hunter Papers.” No date.

Utah Digital Newspapers. ” Salt Lake Tribune | 1885-12-13 | The Second District Court.” No date.

Wallace, John Hankins. Wallace’s Monthly 9 (1883).

Secondary Sources


Biography of Catherine Narrowmore. Fillmore, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. No Date.

Brown, Harlow F. Grass Valley History. Ogden: FamilySearch International, 1937.

Chidester, Ida, and Eleanor Bruhn. Golden Nuggets of Pioneer Days: A History of Garfield County. Panguitch, Utah: The Garfield County News, 1949.

Crampton, C. Gregory. “Military Reconnaissance in Southern Utah, 1866.” Utah Historical Quarterly 32, no. 2 (1866): 145–161.

Gottfredson, Peter, Indian Depredations in Utah. Salt Lake City: Press of Skelton Publishing Co., 1919.

Gunnerson, James H. The Fremont Culture: A Study in Culture Dynamics on the Northern Anasazi Frontier, Papers of the Peabody Museum, vol. 59, No. 2. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1920.

Janetski, Joel C., Mark L. Bodily, Bradley A. Newbold, and David T. Yoder. “Deep Human History in Escalante Valley and Southern Utah.” Utah Historical Quarterly 79, no. 3 (2001): 5–24.

Jensen, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Press of Skelton Publishing Co., 1941.

Kelly, Isabel T. Southern Paiute Ethnography. Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964.

Louderback, Lisbeth A., Bruce M. Pavlik “Ancient potato use in North America.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, no. 29 (July 2017): 201705540.

Mormon Historic. “North America & Hawaii.” No date.

Newell, Linda King, and Vivian Linford Talbot. A History of Garflied County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.

Newell, Linda King. A History of Piute County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1999.

Nielsen, Mabel Woodard, and Audrie Cuyler Ford. Johns Valley: The Way We Saw It. Springville: Art City Publishing Co., 1971.

Periodic Table of the Elements. “Antimony.”

Probasco, Christian. Highway 12 – Hoodoo Lands and the Rim Red and Bryce Canyons, the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Salt Lake City: Utah State University Press, 2005.

Reeve, W. Paul, and Ardis Parshall. Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010.

“Catherine Webb.” Overland Travel Pioneer Database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Warner, M. Lane. Antimony, Utah – Its History and Its People 1873-2004, 2nd ed. Provo, Utah 2004.

[1] John Hankins Wallace, Wallace’s Monthly 9 (1883): 625.

[2] Andrew Jensen, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Press of Skelton Publishing Co., 1941), 4.

[3] Lane M. Warner, Antimony, Utah – Its History and Its People 1873-2004, 2nd ed. (Provo, Utah, 2004), 5.

[4] James H. Gunnerson, The Fremont Culture: A Study in Culture Dynamics on the Northern Anasazi Frontier, Papers of the Peabody Museum, vol. 59, No. 2 (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1920).

[5] Joel C., Janetski et al. “Deep Human History in Escalante Valley and Southern Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 79, no. 3 (2001): 5–24.

[6] Lisbeth A. Louderback and Pavlik M. Bruce, “Ancient potato use in North America,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, no. 29. (July 2017): 201705540.

[7] Isabel Kelly, “Southern Paiute Ethnography,” Anthropological Papers No. 69, Glen Canyon Series No. 21 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964)

[8] Periodic Table of the Elements, “Antimony,”

[9] Warner, Antimony, Utah, 4.

[10] Linda King Newell and Vivian Linford Talbot, A History of Garflied County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 62.

[11] Harlow F. Brown, Grass Valley History, (Ogden: FamilySearch International, 1937), 2.

[12] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 43.

[13] Brown, Grass Valley History, 2.

[14] Capt. J. C. Fremont, Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the year 1842 and to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-44 (Washington: Gales and Seaton, printers, 1845).

[15] Gregory C. Crampton, “Military Reconnaissance in Southern Utah, 1866,” Utah Historical Quarterly 32, no. 2 (1866): 159.

[16] Peter Gottfredson, Indian Depredations in Utah (Salt Lake City: Press of Skelton Publishing Co., 1919): 324-330.

[17] The Engineering and Mining Journal (1896): 383.

[18] W. Paul Reeve and Ardis Parshall, Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010), 287.

[19] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 119.

[20] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 127.

[21] Riddle, Isaac. 2003. Autobiography of Isaac Riddle in The Descendants of John Riddle. Edited by Chauncey Cazier Riddle.

[22] Jensen, Andrew. 1941. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret News. 4.

[23] Nielsen, Mabel Woodard, and Audrie Cuyler Ford. 1971. Johns Valley: The Way We Saw It. Springville, UT: Art City Publishing Co. 196.

[24] Probasco, Christian. 2005. Highway 12 – Hoodoo Lands and the Rim Red and Bryce Canyons, the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Utah State University Press. 33.

[25] Chidester, Ida, and Eleanor Bruhn. 1949. Golden Nuggets of Pioneer Days – A History of Garfield County. Panguitch, Utah: The Garfield County News. 124.

[26] Jensen, Andrew. 1941. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret News. 185

[27] Archibald Murchie Hunter Papers, 1871-1933.  MSS B 68. Utah State Historical Society Archive, Salt Lake City, Utah

[28] Mathews, Esther Black. 1947. A Short Sketch of My Life: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

[29] Abbott, Lillian McGillvra. My Life Story

[30] Garfield County News. 1923. April 20: 6.

[31] Linda King Newell, A History of Piute County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1999), 129.

[32] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 120.


[34] The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, vol. 1 1832-1839.


[36] Biography of Catherine Narrowmore. Fillmore, Utah: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

[37] Deseret News. 1884. July 30: 16.

[38] Warner, Antimony, Utah ,96.

[39] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 222.

[40] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 258.

[41] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 294.

[42] Warner, Antimony, Utah, 71.

[43] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 300.

[44] Warner, Antimony, Utah, 77.

[45] Newell and Talbot, A History of Garflied County, 337.


Antimony Mining Company Stock Certificate


Published / by Leah Kershisnik / 1 Comment on Kanosh

Write-Up by Leah Kershisnik

Placed By: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Sally Kanosh Camp, 1954

GPS Coordinates: 43°38’19.39″N 116°14’28.86″W

Historical Marker Text:

The town site of Kanosh selected by Brigham Young was surveyed in 1867. The first settlers were Noah Avery, William Penney, and Baldwin Watts. Upon advice from Brigham Young, families from Petersburg, Corn Creek, added strength to the new settlement. C-nos, a Pahvant Indian chief and his tribe of 400 lived in this locality, hence the name “Kanosh” was given to the place. This tithing office building, erected in 1870, was also used as a meeting house. Culbert King was the first bishop. The Latter-Day Saints Church granted use of the building to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in 1952

Extended Research:

In 1849 Brigham Young dispatched the Southern Expedition under LDS Apostle Parley P. Pratt to explore Southern Utah and investigate possible settlement locations. The expedition spent time in the Pahvant Valley in Southern Utah and there likely met Chief Kanosh, the young leader of the Pahvant Indians who occupied Corn Creek, named for the corn cultivated by the Indians along the creek. Pratt reported an extremely friendly reception from the Native Americans in the area, news which encouraged Brigham Young to establish settlements in Southern Utah.[1]

Chief Kanosh was born around 1828 to one of the wives of Kash-ee-bats, a Timpanogos Ute chief. Kash-ee-bats was assassinated in the early 1840s while Kanosh was wintering in California with his mother. Kanosh returned to Utah and over the next few years rose to the position of head chief of the Pavahnt Ute band.[2]

From his earliest contact with the Mormons, Chief Kanosh was interested in maintaining peace and fostering friendly relations. Kanosh adopted some aspects of European attire in the late 1850s and was baptized into the LDS church in 1858, though after his conversion he continued to practice many aspects of his native religion, like Shamanism and ritual hunts.[3]

Kanosh’s people had practiced horticulture long before white settlers arrived in the Pahvant Valley, growing “corn, beans, pumpkins, squashes, potatoes, &c” and showed interest in permanently adopting a settled, agricultural lifestyle. A Deseret News article from December 1851 recounts the Pahavant Chief’s desire to stop “roaming,” preferring “to be instructed in tilling the soil.”[4] In the 1850s Brigham Young established a farm for the Pahvant Indians at Upper Corn Creek.

Fillmore (18 miles northeast of present-day Kanosh) was established in 1852. In 1859 two Fillmore residents, Peter Robison and Peter Boyce, left Fillmore and established Petersburg at Lower Corn Creek, three miles southwest of the Kanosh Indian village. They were joined by Charles Hopkins, a member of the 1849 Southern Expedition party. Petersburg grew steadily until 1867 when Brigham Young spoke at a Sunday meeting on April 28 encouraging those in Petersburg to move to Upper Corn Creek, to the site that would come to be called Kanosh.[5]

Originally the Kanosh Ward Tithing Office, now the Kanosh DUP Museum.

Unlike many towns, the townsite of Kanosh was surveyed in 1867 and completely plotted out before settlement began. Families received plots of land through a lottery system. By 1869 about 100 families lived in Kanosh. Mortimer W. Warner is credited with suggesting the town be named after Chief Kanosh.[6] Most families in Kanosh had small farms where they grew wheat, alfalfa, and sugar cane (processed into molasses) for family consumption. Families kept pigs and chickens, and many ran summer dairy operations in nearby canyons. The main sources of income were beef, wool and mutton.[7]

Upper Corn Creek had been occupied by Chief Kanosh and his people, but they had moved toward Meadow by the time Mormons began settling the area. In 1869 (after grasshoppers destroyed their crop in 1868) Kanosh would temporarily relocate his people to the Uintah Reservation, which had been created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861.[8] Up until this point Kanosh had resisted relocating his people to the reservation.

Chief Kanosh married four times. His first wife was thought to be possessed by an evil spirit and executed. His third wife was executed after murdering his second wife. Finally, Chief Kanosh married Sally Young Kanosh, a Bannock Indian woman who had been raised in the home of Brigham Young’s wife, Clara Decker Young. Sally, the daughter of a chief, had been taken captive as a child by a rival Indian group and tortured before being sold to Charles Decker, Brigham Young’s brother-in-law. [9]

Chief Kanosh grave marker in Kanosh Cemetery.

In his final years, Chief Kanosh lived with his wife Sally in a log house in Kanosh that had been gifted to him. He died in December of 1881 and was buried in the first Kanosh cemetery, which site is now lost. Sally Young Kanosh died two years later. In 1934 the Sally Kanosh Camp of the DUP worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps camp stationed in Kanosh to erect a monument to Chief Kanosh in the city’s new cemetery.[10] The Kanosh Reservation was organized in 1929, expanded in 1935 and 1937, and would be the last reservation established in Utah until 1984.[11]

Chief Kanosh was revered by Mormons and Indians alike, and the harmony that existed between Mormon settlers and Native Americans in the area was due in large part to Kanosh. Chief Kanosh consistently chose a path of compromise with the white Mormon settlers. This willingness to be flexible allowed Kanosh and his band to foster good relations with the incoming settlers while still maintaining autonomy and independence.[12]

Kanosh Mercantile.

The earliest route between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles wound through the town of Kanosh. In the early 20th century, as traffic increased and the automobile became popular, this route became known as the Arrowhead Trail. In the 1920s the Arrowhead Trail became U.S. Highway 91, Southern Utah’s first paved interstate. This artery brought traffic to Kanosh, and businesses flourished. Then, in 1973, Interstate-15 replaced Highway 91. Though it followed some sections of 91, I-15 bypassed Kanosh. The rerouting of the freeway brought about the end of most businesses in Kanosh. The business sector has never recovered. The only remaining supplier of general groceries in town is Kanosh Mercantile. Most residents travel to Fillmore for necessary services and shopping.[13]

Kanosh remains a predominantly agricultural community. According to the 2010 census, the population of Kanosh was 474 and the estimated population for 2017 was 548.

[1] Edward Leo Lyman, Linda King Newell, and Utah State Historical Society, A History of Millard County, (Utah Centennial County History Series, 1999), 34-38.

[2] Edward Leo Lyman, “Chief Kanosh: Champion of Peace and Forbearance.” Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 1 (2009): 161.

[3] Hyrum S. Lewis, “Kanosh and Ute Identity in Territorial Utah,” Utah Historical Society, Volume 71, Number 1-4, (2003): 340.

[4] “Sketch of a trip to Pauvan [sic] Valley.” Deseret (Weekly) News. December, 13, 1851, 3

[5] Leavitt Christensen, Birth of Kanosh (1996), 15.

[6] Edward Leo Lyman, Linda King Newell, and Utah State Historical Society, A History of Millard County (Utah Centennial County History Series. 1999), 115.

[7] Christensen, Birth of Kanosh, 67.

[8] Forrest S. Cuch, David Begay, Utah State Historical Society, and Utah. Division of Indian Affairs, A History of Utah’s American Indians (Salt Lake City: Utah State Division of Indian Affairs : Utah State Division of History, 2000), 192.

[9]  E. L. Black, “Life Story of Indian Chief Kanosh,” 1-2.

[10] Christensen, Birth of Kanosh, 55-56.

[11] “An Act To reserve nine hundred and twenty acres on the public domain for the use and benefit of the Kanosh Band of Indians residing in the vicinity of Kanosh, Utah” (1929); “An act to reserve eighty acres on the public domain for the use and benefit of the Kanosh Band of Indians in the State of Utah” (1935); “An Act To reserve certain lands in the State of Utah for the Kanosh Band of Paiute Indians” (1937); Cuch, Begay, Utah State Historical Society, and Utah. Division of Indian Affairs, A History of Utah’s American Indians,142.

[12]Lewis, “Kanosh and Ute Identity,” 342-346.

[13] Christensen, Birth of Kanosh, 74.

For Further Reference:

Secondary Sources:

Christensen, Leavitt. Birth of Kanosh. 1996.

Cuch, Forrest S., Begay, David, Utah State Historical Society, and Utah. Division of Indian Affairs. A History of Utah’s American Indians. Pbk. ed. Salt Lake City: Utah State Division of Indian Affairs : Utah State Division of History, 2000.

Lewis, Hyrum S. “Kanosh and Ute Identity in Territorial Utah.” Utah Historical Society, Volume 71, Number 1-4, (2003): 332-347

Lyman, Edward Leo. “Chief Kanosh: Champion of Peace and Forbearance.” Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 1 (2009): 157-207.

Lyman, Edward Leo, Newell, Linda King, and Utah State Historical Society. A History of Millard County. Utah Centennial County History Series. 1999.F

For more information on roads, environment, and memory, see Rogers, Jedediah Smart. Roads in the Wilderness : Conflict in Canyon Country. 2013.

Primary Sources:

“An Act To reserve nine hundred and twenty acres on the public domain for the use and benefit of the Kanosh Band of Indians residing in the vicinity of Kanosh, Utah” (1929)

“An act to reserve eighty acres on the public domain for the use and benefit of the Kanosh Band of Indians in the State of Utah” (1935)

“An Act To reserve certain lands in the State of Utah for the Kanosh Band of Paiute Indians” (1937)

Black, E. L. “Chief Kanosh and Kanosh Town.” Utah Humanities Research Foundation 1905-04-13

Black, E. L. “Life Story of Indian Chief Kanosh.” Utah Humanities Research Foundation. 1945.

Callister, Thomas. “Correspondence.” Deseret News. August, 11, 1869, 2.

“Sketch of a trip to Pauvan [sic] Valley.” Deseret (Weekly) News. December, 13, 1851, 3.

Wood, Lyman S. “Correspondence.” Deseret News. December, 26, 1855, 5.

Battle Creek

Published / by Brittney Carter / Leave a Comment

Write up by Brittney Carter


40°21’48” N 111°42’2” W

Elevation 5260

Marker originally placed by: Jared Warburton, 1997

Battle Creek monument text

Marker Text:

“This monument is in memory of the first armed engagement between the Mormon pioneers and the Native Americans that inhabited Utah Valley, and serves as a reminder of the extreme sacrifice given by both people. This skirmish at the mouth of Battle Creek Canyon gave it its name.”

Extended Research

Kiwanis Park at Battle Creek

Battle Creek, which is now known as Pleasant Grove, was the site of the first battle between Native Americans and Utah pioneers. Mormon (LDS) leaders in Salt Lake City ordered militiamen to investigate reports in Utah Valley that Indians were killing cattle and that they had stolen Brigham Young’s horses. The accusation of horse theft proved untrue. As a result, the militiamen received new orders from Salt Lake City “stating that as the horses were not stolen . . . we need not spend any more time in search of them.” They were, however, directed to continue the expedition to investigate the killing of cattle. As Hosea Stout, one of the militiamen recalled, “the nature of our expedition was not in the least changed.”(1).

Battle Creek Marker

After a few days of travel, the militiamen made it to what is now American Fork and rested over night with a band of Ute Indians. Hosea Stout wrote, “the Company [got] an early start and traveled south to the Provo, a fine large stream and well timbered in the valley. This is a beautiful farming country. Here we found the Utahs, who . . . received us friendly but were much excited being evidently afraid of us. After spending an hour or so with them and learning what we could, respecting those we were in pursuit of and also explaining the object of our visit we traveled on. Little Chief accompanied us about three miles up the Provo where we encamped for the night”(1).

The militiamen split into two groups after they came upon a few Native Americans at Battle Creek Canyon who were still sleeping. When the Indians awoke and saw that they were surrounded by white men they tried to flee farther up the canyon, only to find another group of militiamen waiting for them. Before fighting began, an interpreter from among the militia tried to get the Native Americans to surrender.

As Hosea Stout recalled: “Our interpreters talked to them and told them our errand, and asked them to give themselves up. They refused. Our guide talked to them and reasoned with them, but all to no purpose, fight they would unless we went away, then they said they would come out. The guide told them they must come out then or die. . . . The first one shot was their leader. Then such a howling and crying, I think white men never heard before” (1).

After fighting broke out there were several casualties according to Oliver B. Huntington:

“All the bodies we could find were carried together to one place for burial: seven great, fat stout men. . . . When we got back to where we left the dead, there was neither dead nor living anywhere to be found. We did not think them worth hunting for anymore, and started home.” (2).

Mormon pioneers soon settled the land in Utah Valley because of the richness of the soil that militiamen witnessed on this expedition. Brigham Young had already planned to expand further south. As one history of Provo recounted, “Initial Mormon settlement thus was on the site of Salt Lake City. Nevertheless, Young planned to explore all valleys, and, when opportunity permitted, establish settlements in those sufficiently well-watered” (3). Mormon leaders selected Utah Valley as one area for settlement which led to further conflict with Ute Indians in the region.

Battle Creek falls

Battle Creek remained the name of the area until years later when Mormon pioneers decided to change it to Pleasant Grove. The monument that is left at the base of Battle Creek Canyon, which leads to Battle Creek Falls, stands as a reminder of the first battle fought between Mormon pioneers and Native Americans. It also serves as a reminder that Mormon settlement came at a significant cost to Native Americans, in loss of life, land, and culture.




  1. On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, Vol. 2, Edited by Juanita Brooks, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964), 344-347.
  2. Diary of Oliver B. Huntington, 1847–1900, Vol. 2, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 47–55, 331-341.
  3. Writers Program, Provo, Pioneer Mormon City (Portland, Oregon : Binfords & Mort1942), 36-44.

For Further Reference

Primary Sources

On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, Vol. 2, Edited by Juanita Brooks, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964).

Diary of Oliver B. Huntington, 1847–1900, Vol. 2, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Secondary Sources

Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge: Mass: Harvard University Press, 2008).

Writers Program, Provo, Pioneer Mormon City (Portland, Oregon : Binfords & Mort1942).

Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

Published / by Lisa Barr / 2 Comments on Jacob Hamblin (#21), Fort Kanab (#151)

Written by Lisa Barr, US History/ Public History MA Student, University of Utah

Jacob Hamblin (#21)

Placed by: Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmark Association and citizens of Kanab Stake

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N, -112° 32.114’ W

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial in Kanab

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Historical Text: 

No. 21 Erected Sept. 2, 1933

Jacob Hamblin

Born April 2, 1819    Died August 21, 1886

The great Mormon frontiersman and Indian missionary settled in Tooele Valley, Utah in 1850 and began preaching negotiations with the red men. He was so successful that the officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent him to establish residence among the Indians at Santa Clara, Utah in 1854.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

A fort was erected on this site in 1865 into which he moved in 1869. He assisted Maj. J.W. Powell and party 1869-72. He was transferred in 1878 to Arizona and later to New Mexico. He is buried in Alpine, Arizona. His friendship with the Indians saved many lives.

Extended Research:

Jacob Hamblin was born in 1819 in Salem, Ohio and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842. He helped to settled Tooele, Utah in 1850 before Brigham Young sent him on a mission to the Native Americans in southern Utah in 1854. Hamblin first came to the Kanab area in 1867 to form alliances with members of the Hopi, Southern Paiute, and Navajo tribes. Hamblin hoped to teach them to farm, and convert them to Mormonism.

Eventually, Hamblin and his family moved from Santa Clara to Kanab in 1869 so that he could try to improve Mormon-Navajo relations in northern Arizona. In 1870, Brigham Young assigned Levi Stewart to lead Kanab’s resettlement which freed Hamblin to accompany John Wesley Powell on his second Colorado River expedition in 1871 and 1872. Hamblin and his family moved to Milligan’s Fort in Northern Arizona in 1878, and then to Pleasanton, New Mexico in 1883. He died of malaria in 1886 and is buried in Alpine, Arizona.

Fort Kanab (#151)

Placed by: The descendants of Levi Stewart and Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association

GPS Coordinates:  37° 02.967’ N,  -112° 32.114’ W

Historical Marker Text:

Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

No. 115 Erected April 11, 1950

Fort Kanab

On June, 14, 1870 Levi Stewart, who had been called from Salt Lake County by President Brigham Young to head a group of pioneers in settling this area, brought a party with seven wagons from Pipe Spring, where they had camped temporarily to Fort Kanab which had been built a year before by Jacob Hamblin and Indian missionaries.

Located at the Levi Stewart Memorial, Kanab, Utah Photograph by Lisa Barr, February 18, 2017

Kanab Ward was organized September 11, 1870 with Elder Stewart as bishop. Other settlers arrived, homes were built and plans were made for a permanent community. A fire in the fort on December 14, took the lives of Mrs. Margery Wilkerson Stewart and five sons.

Extended Research:

Kanab’s first settlers built Fort Kanab in stages between 1865 and 1869. The fort was vacated in 1866 due to increased Navajo and Southern Paiute raids that resulted from the Black Hawk War. In 1867, Jacob Hamblin traveled to the area to establish peace with Hopis and Southern Paiute Indians, however, Navajos continued to carryout raids throughout the region. Hamblin moved to Kanab from Santa Clara in 1869 and began to rebuild the fort which lasted until Brigham Young sent Levi Stewart to resettle the town of Kanab in 1870. The new settlers, including Stewart’s family, lived in the fort while they built homes in town. Southern Paiutes were also a part of Fort Kanab’s community and some lived in the fort and helped to farm the land in exchange for food.

Frank Asahel Beckwith, Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Courtesy Willard Marriott Library

Fort Kanab caught fire the night of December 14, 1870. Kerosene and turpentine that were stored in the fort exploded and collapsed the roof, killing Stewart’s wife Margery and five of their sons. Jacob Hamblin recalled the fire in his journal, stating that the fort was “in a moment enveloped in an intense flame which burst out from the only entrance, and that the scene could never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.”[1]

[1] Jacob Hamblin, Jacob Hamblin: His Life in His Own Words (New York: Paramount Books, 1995), 95.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Adams, John Q. Pioneer Personal History of John Q. Adams, Kanab, Utah. July, 16, 1938.

Beckwith, Frank Asahel.  Kanab Markers (2). February 1, 1941, Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Hamblin, Jacob. Jacob Hamblin: Life in His Own Words. New York: Paramount Books, 1995.

Secondary Sources:

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. A History of Kane County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical         Society, Kane County Commission, 1999.

Brooks, Juanita. Jacob Hamblin: Mormon Apostle to the Indians. Salt Lake City: Westwater       Press, 1980.

Compton, Todd. A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013.




Connor Statue at Historic Park

Published / by Zach Vayo / Leave a Comment

Connor Statue at Historic Park

Write-up by Zach Vayo

GPS Coordinates: 40.764399°N, 111.832891°W

Historical Marker Text:


Born in County Kerry, Ireland. Emigrated as a child to the United States. Enlisted in the army at age 19. Attained rank of Captain in the Mexican War. As Colonel, commanding the Volunteers, established Camp Douglas on Oct. 26, 1862. A soldier-statesman of great energy and vision, he was the “father of Utah mining”, published the first daily newspaper in Utah Territory, and founded Stockton, Utah. * * * * This park presented to the United States Army by the Fort Douglas Museum Association on the 124th Anniversary of the founding of Fort Douglas. Oct 26, 1986.”

Extended Research:

Aside from Brigham Young, perhaps no individual played a larger role in shaping nineteenth century Utah than Patrick Connor. Indeed, prominent Utah historian Dean May has hailed these men as the two founding fathers of modern Utah.[1] Today, Connor’s statue in Fort Douglas quietly rivals Young’s much grander memorialization across Salt Lake in Temple Square – a silent reenactment of what was in its day a bitter public rivalry between these two men and their competing visions. Young sought to establish Utah as the Kingdom of God on Earth according to the unique sensibilities of the LDS Church. Connor, meanwhile, aimed to bring Utah into the American mainstream by conquering the land’s indigenous peoples and opening the door for white settlers like himself, looking to make their fortunes out West. Intensely distrustful of Utah’s Mormon population, Connor was himself an immigrant who, having undergone a process of Americanization, now sought to “Americanize” Utah along the same lines as the rest of the West. Portrayed as everything from hero to murderous plunderer, Connor has been sweepingly characterized as “the archetypal nineteenth century man”, who was “representative of all that was good and bad in that age.”[2]

The man who would come to identify himself as P. Edward Connor was born Patrick Edward (“Paddy”) O’Connor in County Kerry, Ireland. Very little information exists on Connor’s early life; he claimed to have been born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1820.[3] Economic stagnation in Ireland drove his family to emigrate to New York when he was perhaps sixteen. Connor spent several years working odd jobs as a laborer before beginning his military career by volunteering for the First Dragoons in 1839. It is possible the young Irishman viewed military service as a useful means to “Americanize” himself in an era animated by nativism and anti-Catholicism.[4]

Connor’s five year tour with the Dragoons took him to the lands in and around the newly-created Iowa Territory to maintain relations with the region’s native peoples. This fledgling military presence in the trans-Mississippi West, with the US fresh off the Jacksonian ethnic cleansing of native peoples in the East, would foreshadow atrocious military violence against the indigenous peoples of the West during and after the Civil War, in which Connor himself was to play a leading role.

While relatively uneventful, Connor’s tour with the Dragoons gave him valuable experience as a soldier. More importantly, he appeared to become enamored with the West, where he would spend almost all of the remainder of his life. Following the end of his tour of duty, he returned to New York for several years, engaging in “mercantile business” and becoming a naturalized citizen (a process no doubt made easier by his military record).[5] Also around this time, he removed some of the conspicuous Irish-ness from his name by dropping the O’ in his surname and shortening Patrick to an initial, becoming P. Edward Connor. With the outbreak of war with Mexico in 1846, Connor headed west again, joining a company of Texas Volunteers. He participated in the US victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, receiving praise for his bravery.[6]

Connor ca. 1860s

The war resulted in the US seizure of a vast swath of land claimed by Mexico. Connor was among many who viewed these lands as a place to make it big, travelling to California in 1850 on the heels of the Gold Rush. After an ill-fated attempt to establish a community on the Trinity River, he settled in Stockton. Over the next decade, his numerous entrepreneurial ventures, particularly a gravel quarry on his property, resulted in Connor accumulating a degree of wealth. He emerged as a leading citizen of Stockton and came to head its militia, the Stockton Blues. In 1854, he married Johanna Connor, another emigrant from Kerry County.[7] The couple would raise five children to adulthood, enduring the loss of two sons who died in childhood.

This relatively peaceful period of Connor’s life came to an end in 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War. Eager to serve his adopted country once more, he took the lead in recruiting several companies of California Volunteers to serve under his command. In spite of his (and his troops’) desire to fight the Confederacy in the East, he found himself assigned to protect overland mail routes in Utah, as the Lincoln administration sought to preserve California’s tenuous connection to the Union.[8] In Utah, Connor’s troops were to serve as an occupying force to both native peoples such as the Shoshone and to the territory’s Mormon population, practitioners of an enigmatic and fanatical religion in the eyes of many, whose loyalty to the country seemed particularly dubious, particularly in light of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.

During the journey across Nevada, Connor began to hone his reputation as an Indian fighter, launching attacks that killed several dozen Shoshones. Reaching Salt Lake City in 1862, Connor remarked with disgust on the apparent un-Americanness of the Mormons, calling them “a community of traitors, murderers, fanatics, and whores,” claiming “the people publicly rejoice at reverses to our arms,” and “Brigham Young rules with despotic sway.”[9] For their part, the Mormons had good reason to fear federal troops due to the “Utah War” of 1856-58. As such, they were none too happy when Connor, despairing of the state of the old Camp Crittenden (Camp Floyd) in Utah Valley, planted his troops directly above their capital, establishing Camp Douglas on an eastern bench of the Salt Lake Valley on October 26, 1862. Connor cited this new location as all the better to “say to the Saints of Utah, enough of your treason.”[10] Connor’s troops thus became the most visible symbol of “Gentile” (non-Mormon) presence in the territory, sparking a war of words between the two groups lasting for decades.

Camp Douglas (later Fort Douglas) ca. 1865. Connor named the fort for Lincoln’s great political rival, Stephen Douglas.

The year 1863 was a critical one for Connor. Denied the chance to fight in the East, he seized on a chance to “chastise” the Northwestern Shoshone instead. Increased Anglo-American incursions into what is today southern Idaho had strained relationships with the Shoshone, producing intermittent fighting and claims of kidnapping. In the bitter cold of January, Connor marched his troops from Camp Douglas to a Shoshone encampment on the Bear River. One California newspaper offered a telling insight into the attitudes of the day by publishing a gleeful letter from a Salt Lake correspondent, stating that “before [Connor’s troops] quit the entertainment Mr. Redskin is to be well thrashed, and, if possible, ‘wiped out.’”[11]

Arriving at the encampment, Connor’s troops launched an attack on the 29th of January. What began as a battle became a bloodbath as Connor’s troops flanked the Shoshones, trapping them in a ravine. The troops proceeded to massacre anyone within reach, including women and children. The death toll may well have exceeded four hundred, making it the largest massacre in the history of the American West. Connor’s troops destroyed homes and food supplies, murdering dozens more women who refused to submit to rape by the soldiers.[12] His actions would make him one of the most despised figures in Shoshone memory, with one survivor, Sagwitch, later recalling the bitter irony of “that merciless battle, when women and suckling babes met their death at the hands of civilization.”[13] Those same actions, however, made Connor a hero to white colonizers in the West, and earned him a promotion to brigadier-general.

Bear River Massacre site.

Back in Salt Lake, Connor became fixated on the notion of publicizing Utah’s mineral wealth so as to draw non-Mormons into the territory, contending that “inducements … to the teeming population of the East and West, seeking new fields of exploration and prosperity” would spell political and social doom for the Mormonism that he saw as “not only subversive of morals, in conflict with the civilization of the present age, and oppressive on the people, but also deeply and boldly in contravention of the laws and best interests of the nation.”[14] To that end, he founded the Daily Union Vedette, a staunchly non-Mormon newspaper that wrote extensively on the wealth to be had in Utah. Connor helped to establish and personally invested in numerous mining districts, including what would become Bingham Canyon, earning the honorific “father of Utah mining.” In 1863, Connor also established the town of Stockton, near Tooele, named for his former home in California. Connor intended Stockton as a hub for non-Mormon settlement, though his grand visions could never elevate it beyond a minor settlement on the fringes of Brigham Young’s Mormon kingdom. Of course, Young and his disciples were none too happy to see these capitalistic incursions into their Zion. After Young petitioned unsuccessfully to have Connor and his troops removed from Utah,[15] he was spared of the general for a time when Connor was sent to present Wyoming for the Powder River expedition in 1865.

Connor thus departed Utah to crush resistance from the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho in response to a mining boom that had drawn a wave of white colonizers into Montana. While Connor’s campaigns failed to win any “victories” as decisive as that at Bear River, he nonetheless killed several hundred indigenous persons in a series of battles and skirmishes such as Tongue River (at times fighting alongside indigenous allies such as the Omaha). Such militancy undermined the capacity of indigenous communities to sustain themselves, leaving little recourse to federal economic dependency and reservations (with poverty ironically reinforcing white perceptions of indigenous nations as primitive and backwards). The Powder River endeavor was largely regarded as a failure, in part due to negative publicity surrounding another event to the south: namely, the army’s 1864 Sand Creek Massacre against the Cheyenne and Arapaho, which had soured the nation for a time on war with native nations.[16] Reflecting this shift in attitude, the Salt Lake Tribune expressed desire for “some sensible plan” regarding “the poor Indian race.”[17]Nonetheless, the expedition cemented Connor’s status as to hero to white colonizers in the West. This would be Connor’s last major military mission, as he resigned his commission in 1866.

After a brief return to Utah (and a trip to Washington DC to testify against the evils of the Mormons), Connor returned to California with his family. By 1869, however, the looming completion of the transcontinental railroad brought him back to Utah. This time, his family stayed in California, establishing a permanent residence in Redwood City. Over the next decades, Connor would become increasingly estranged from his family as he bounced between various mining and railroad endeavors in Utah and Nevada in largely unsuccessful attempts to amass his fortune, made all the more difficult by the market instabilities laid bare in the Panic of 1873. Johanna Connor would eventually die in 1889, making no mention of her oft-absent husband in her will.

In Utah, the railroad spelled doom for Brigham Young’s bucolic conception of an economically isolated Zion. Anticipating an economic and demographic influx to the territory, Connor took an interest in the town of Corinne, near the mouth of the Bear River, which emerged in the wake of the railroad’s completion as Utah’s leading non-Mormon community. His assessment of this emerging landscape proved somewhat overly optimistic, with his vision of a steamboat service across the Great Salt Lake connecting Corinne to Stockton never truly materializing. As the most esteemed non-Mormon in the territory, Connor became the symbolic leader of Utah’s anti-Mormon Liberal Party, which denounced polygamy and sought to block statehood for fear of losing federal leverage against the dominant religion. Speaking at an 1880 Liberal rally, Connor declared his intention of “taking up the fight with renewed vigor,” and “helping forward the good work of regulating and Americanizing Utah.”[18] This symbolic leadership notwithstanding, Connor proved unsuccessful in parlaying his notoriety into political office, losing a bid even for the modest office of Salt Lake County Recorder. He died in Salt Lake in 1891 with much prestige and little wealth, and was buried in the Fort Douglas Cemetery.[19]

Connor with President Hayes during the latter’s visit to Fort Douglas, 1880.

The decades after his death saw Patrick Connor’s vision of an Americanized Utah come to fruition to a remarkable degree. Booming mining industries throughout the new state in regions such as Carbon County and Bingham Canyon attracted waves of non-Mormon immigration from countries including Greece and Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Japan and China. Mining in particular signified Utah’s increasing integration into the national economy; while providing economic opportunity, this new colonial economy also spawned appalling working conditions and environmental degradation. Connor would no doubt also have been pleased to see the LDS church, the object of his perpetual contempt, take a firmer stance against polygamy and recede from the political sphere in the first decades of the twentieth century (though the latter change did not prove permanent). Furthermore, the twentieth century also saw emphasis on Brigham Young’s model of economic cooperation decline as many Mormons made their peace with Connor’s capitalist vision. Indeed, while not abandoning their distinct identities, Mormon communities have undergone a noteworthy degree of Americanization since Connor’s time.[20] Connor himself practiced what he preached with regards to Americanization: the Irish-born immigrant epitomized the self-made man of fame and fortune. While this rugged, romantic image has become iconic in conceptions of the West, Connor’s case also illustrates its shortcomings. Never truly successful in making his fortune later in life, his obsessive quest for wealth resulted in considerable alienation from his family. Underpinning all of this is Connor’s darkest legacy (and one that is conspicuously absent from his historical marker): the brutalization of indigenous nations, on whose dispossessed land the processes of “Americanization” played out. Particularly for the Northwestern Shoshones, the impacts and bitter memories of Colonel Connor’s atrocious actions on the Bear River echo into the twenty-first century.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

P. Edward Connor, Official Report on the Bear River Massacre, February 6, 1863.

Secondary Sources:

Madsen, Brigham. Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990.

May, Dean. Utah: A People’s History. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987.

Varley, James. Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. . Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989.

[1] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1987), 194.

[2] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail. (Tucson: Westernlore Press, 1989), x.

[3] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor (Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, 1990), 3-5.

[4] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 2.

[5] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 18-19.

[6] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 4.

[7] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 30.

[8] Ibid, 48.

[9] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major R. C. Drum, September 14, 1862.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “A Big Expedition – Connor and the Volunteers after the Indians,” Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, CA), Feb. 7, 1863

[12] Scott Christensen, Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder, 1822-1887 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999), 52.

[13] F.W. Warner (Sagwitch), “Sagwitch Writes The Citizen About New Monument,” Franklin County Citizen (Preston, ID), Jul. 11, 1918.

[14] P. Edward Connor, letter to Major E. McGarry, October 26, 1863.

[15] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 114.

[16] Ibid, 121.

[17] James Varley, Brigham and the Brigadier, 258.

[18] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 237.

[19] Brigham Madsen, Glory Hunter, 271.

[20] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History, 190, 194-198.

Chief Wasatch

Published / by Zak Erickson / Leave a Comment

Placed by: Mayor Larell D. Muir and Park and Operation Superintends Lynn F. Pett and Bill D. Crocker

GPS Coordinates:  40°39’37.7748”N 111°53’16.7136”W

Historical Marker Text

“Chief Wasatch”

To raise the nation’s conscience to the plight of the first American so they won’t be forgotten, but will be remembered in our minds and in our hearts.  This statue is sculpted out of a giant cottonwood tree in honor of Utah Native Americans – Southern and Northern Ute, Sothern Shoshone, Goshutes, Paiute, and Navajo.  Creator Peter “Wolf” Toth, is sculpturing statues for all 50 states.

Dedicated: November 23, 1985

Mayor: Larell D. Muir

Park & Operation Superintendents: Lynn F. Pett and Bill D. Crocker

Extended Research:

In 1985, the mayor of Murray, Utah, Larell D. Muir, commissioned Peter “Wolf” Toth to sculpt a statue of “Chief Wasatch”. It continues to greet visitors at the entrance of Murray Park to this day. The statue may prompt people to think that “Chief Wasatch” was a great leader of one of the Native American tribes in Utah. However, this was not the case; in fact, “Chief Wasatch” was not an actual person. The statue was not created to honor a specific individual, but rather to honor the many Native Americans who lived in Utah long before fur traders, explores, and Euro-American settlers came to Utah. In this regard, “Chief Wasatch” stands in for all Utah Native Americans and represents their history and legacy.

There is not much known about the earliest Native American inhabitants of Utah.  This is because they did not have a written language and did not come into contact with groups that did. The little bit that we do know is from artifacts such as worn sandals, food caches, stone houses, silk weed nets, and even human droppings[1].  After the Desert Archaic, the Fremont Indians made the transition out of caves and started to build their own shelters.  They also learned how to farm but it is not known where they learned this skill.  With farming, they also started to build granaries to protect what they grew[2].  They would build several homes and granaries near each other to create a sort of village. This marked a transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a more stationary one.  The Fremont also spread throughout the region until there were  many different  Fremont sites across the area that would become Utah.

The Fremont were eventually displaced by or absorbed by the Ute, Goshute, Shoshone, and Southern Paiute. Each of these tribes thought that the land they lived on was sacred and that their God intended for them to live there. Creation narratives instilled in tribal members a sacred connection between the land and the people. With this in mind, it is easier to understand why there was sometimes tension between the Ute, Goshute, Southern Paiute, Shoshone and the Mormon pioneers. Mormon settlers came into the Great Basin and built homes and communities on lands that the Native Americans considered sacred.  This tension lead to many conflicts and sadly the eventual removal of the Native Americans to reservations.

It is because of this removal that Mayor Larell D. Muir arranged for a sculpture of “Chief Wasatch” at Murray Park. Muir wanted to honor and make sure that Utah’s Native Americans would not be forgotten.  Now when people enter Murray Park or drive past the park on State Street they can see “Chief Wasatch” and remember the Native Americans of Utah.

[1] Dean L. May, Utah: A People’s History (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987), 12.

[2] May, 14.

For Further Reference:

Primary Source:

Acts, Resolutions, and Memorials, Passed by the First Annual, and Special Sessions, of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, Begun and held at Great Salt Lake City, on the 22nd day of September, A. D., 1851(Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory: Brigham H. Young, Printer, 1852), 91-93.

Secondary Sources:

Clifford Duncan, “The Northern Utes of Utah,” in A History of Utah’s American Indians, ed.

Forrest S. Cuch, (Salt Lake City:  Utah Division of Indian Affairs and Utah Division of State History, 2000), 167-8.

“The Deseret News.” Google News Archive Search. Accessed April 19, 2017. safe=strict&nid=336&dat=19851112&id=a9lUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8oMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4787%2C6022654&hl=en.

Iverson, Kristen. “Living History: How the giant Chief Wasatch came to Murray Park.” The Salt Lake Tribune. September 22, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2017.

May, Dean L. “Man and Desert.” Utah: A People’s History. Salt Lake City: U of Utah Press,

  1. 1-19.

Thomas G. Alexander, Utah, The Right Place:  The Official Centennial History (Salt Lake City:

Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1995), 29-30.

W.Paul Reeve, Making Space on the Western Frontier:  Mormons, Miners, and Southern

Paiutes (Urbana and Chicago:  University of Illinois Press, 2006), 12.

Newspaper Rock

Published / by Laura Angell / 2 Comments on Newspaper Rock

Written by Laura Angell, BA History Student at the University of Utah

Placed By: Unknown

Sign Information:

This sign is not a historical marker, it was placed to document the area and provide some brief information about the site. The sign was placed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Sign Text:

Newspaper Rock is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that record approximately 2,000 years of early human activity. Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo cultures, etched on the rock from B.C. time to A.D. 1300. In historic times, Ute and Navajo people, as well as European Americans made their contributions.

In interpreting the figures on the rock, scholars are undecided as to their meaning or have yet to decipher them. In Navajo, the rock is called “Tse’Hane’” (Rock that tells a story).

Unfortunately, we do not know if the figures represent storytelling, doodling, hunting magic, clan symbols, ancient graffiti or something else. Without a true understanding of the petroglyphs much is left for individual interpretation.

Newspaper Rock is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Please continue to preserve it.

GPS Coordinates: 37°59’6.6″N 109°31’05.1″W

Newspaper Rock Feb. 2017

Extended Research:

Utah’s territory has been shaped by the presence of early Americans throughout the territory. Newspaper Rock is one of the few pieces that remains as evidence of the Native American activity in the area. The site was rediscovered by early pioneers and was given the name Newspaper Rock due to the abundance of petroglyphs on the large sandstone canvas. The various artists responsible for this artwork are not known, however, historians and archaeologists believe that different Native American cultural groups who have lived in the four corners area have contributed to the artwork on the rock over several thousand years. The artwork was etched on the rock face that contains a black coloring, known as “desert varnish,” which gets its color from a combination of iron deposits and bacteria that forms when rain falls on the exposed sandstone. The artists who created the petroglyphs used the technique of chiseling away at the top layer of the sandstone to reveal the red rock underneath. The petroglyphs date back from about 2,000 years ago to as recent as the 20th century.

One of the individuals responsible for one of the more recent markings is Ramón González’s son, J. P. González. Ramón González and his family moved from New Mexico to Monticello and permanently settled there in March of 1900. The family created a homestead in the Indian Creek area on land that included the Newspaper Rock site. J. P. González carved his name on the far left corner of the rock.[1] The inscription reads “J.P. Gonzalez 1902” and just below, another inscription says “C.D. Gonsales 6/3/54,” which was left by J.P.’s son. Other recent inscriptions include, “Jean,” written with a backwards N and “JER.”

Newspaper Rock has been recognized as a state historical monument since its dedication in 1961. During this year, control of the site went from the Bureau of Land Management to the State Park and Recreation Commission. The Commission stated its goal for the site was to make improvements by building a fence around the monument, build a parking lot, a picnicking site, and camping facilities. These improvements began in the Spring of 1962 and a portion of the funding for the project was provided by Sunset Magazine.

An image of a woman pointing towards the artwork. Part of the Al Watkins Morton Photograph Collection, 1940-1950. Courtesy the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts.[2]

The monument has become a tourist destination in the 20th and 21st centuries. Over the years the site has continued to garner attention. Many individuals found the vast artwork of interest and took pictures of their interactions with the site. Documentation about the site has continued to assist in the increase of visitation to the area.






The Times Independent newspaper has documented the amount of visitors that the site has received over the years. Gordon W. Topham, a ranger during the time, states that the sizable differences in numbers may have been due to “the fact that many vacation plans were canceled in 1974 due to the price of gas” and during one of the months, the sign for the monument was in Salt Lake City for repairs, and many people passed the monument.

Statistics provided by Gordon W. Topham, Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation. Courtesy Times Independent 1975, 1976.[3]

Statistics provided by Gordon W. Topham, Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation. Courtesy Times Independent 1975, 1976.[3]








In 2017, a trip to the site proved that the conservation efforts of the State Park and Recreation Commission and Bureau of Land Management have been beneficial for the preservation of the site. Although the background and meaning of the artwork remains a mystery, the monument continues to represent the early American presence in Utah and the importance of artwork to their culture.


[1] Gonzalez, William H. and Padilla, Genaro M., “Monticello, the Hispanic Cultural Gateway to Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 52(Winter 1984): 9-28.

[2] Morton, Alton Watkins, “Woman points to what is known now as Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument,” 470, 1940-1950.

[3] “State Commission Announced Plans to Develop ‘Newspaper Rock,'” Times Independent, 12/28/1961.

[3] “Newspaper Rock State Park Visitor Increase Noted,” Times Independent, 1/09/1975.

[3] “Newspaper Rock Visitation is Way Up,” Times Independent, 6/12/1975.

[3] “29% Increase in Visits Noted at Newspaper Rock,” Times Independent, 1/8/1976.

[3] “Visitation Down at Newspaper Rock,” Times Independent, 2/12/1976.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Morton, Alton Watkins, “Woman points to what is known now as Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument.” 470, 1940-1950.

“State Commission Announced Plans to Develop ‘Newspaper Rock,'” Times Independent, 12/28/1961.

“Newspaper Rock State Park Visitor Increase Noted,” Times Independent, 1/09/1975.

“Newspaper Rock Visitation is Way Up,” Times Independent, 6/12/1975.

“29% Increase in Visits Noted at Newspaper Rock,” Times Independent, 1/8/1976.

“Visitation Down at Newspaper Rock,” Times Independent, 2/12/1976.

Secondary Sources

Castleton, K. B., 1979. Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Utah. Salt Lake City.

Gonzalez, William H. and Padilla, Genaro M., “Monticello, the Hispanic Cultural Gateway to Utah,” Utah Historic Quarterly, 52(Winter 1984): 9-28.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lands. Newspaper Rock Recreation Site.

National Park Service Petrified Forest. Newspaper Rock.

Utah Parks. Petroglyphs Near Moab Utah.