Beginning of Colononization 1898
The chain of circumstances leading to the actual colonization of the towns of Lund and Preston had its beginning in Washington D.C. In 1887 while Grover Cleveland was President of the United States, the Edmund Tucker bill was passed, albeit without the signature of the President. This bill was directed against the Mormons and its sole purpose seemed to be to curb the power of their leaders and modify their beliefs and practices. One of the many features of the bill was the disincorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Shortly after its passage, all the legal personal properties of the church were confiscated by the government and turned over to United States Marshall Dyer who had been appointed receiver.
Among the properties turned over by the church were large herds of cattle. Mr. Dyer knew nothing about caring for these cattle so he turned them over to friends of his, namely Ira Nichols and Elias H. Parsons. These were the men who, in partnership, owned the Tom Plane, the Maddox (Mattics) and the Murry Creek (McQuitty) ranches in White Pine County, Nevada, where the cattle were taken.
In 1893 Congress decided the Edmund Tucker Act was unconstitutional and introduced a resolution to restore the confiscated church property. The 1890 Manifesto issued by Wilford Woodruff, President of the Mormon church, advising its members "to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land" may have influenced this decision. However, no further action was taken until 1896 when President Cleveland signed a memorial to the congressional resolution. This was passed by both houses of Congress and the restoration of the church property was finally accomplished.
By this time, severe winter weather, bad investments and poor management had reduced the herds so much, that Nichols and Parsons did not have enough cattle left to return full value to the church. They were obliged to turn over everything they owned, the three ranches, the Tom Plane, the Maddox and the Murry Creek, together with the remaining cattle, horses and equipment.
With colonization in mind, the church sent Apostle Anthon H. Lund, Apostle Heber J. Grant, Presiding Bishop William B. Preston, Henry Beal and others to report on the feasibility of such a project. Their report on the property was favorable and plans were made to colonize.
The Church purchased property from Adams and McGill to supplement these ranch properties and organized the Nevada Land and Livestock Company with Bishops Black and Styler in charge to implement the actual colonization. The town that was to be located on the Tom Plane ranch was called Lund to honor Apostle Anthon H. Lund and six miles northwest on the site of the Maddox ranch, Lund's sister town was called Preston for Presiding Bishop William B. Preston. These men as members of the visiting delegation had both been instrumental in arranging for colonization.
Not much progress was made toward colonization until Thomas Judd of St. George, Utah was made colonizing agent. He had been active in the early development of the Dixie country in southern Utah, especially in helping to engineer a number of irrigation projects. When he was called to take charge of the colonization in Nevada he left a similar assignment at La Verkin, Utah. His diary gives some insight into his call and the first days of his new assignment.
On February 13, 1898 Thomas Judd was in Pioche on his way to Salt Lake City when the telegraph operator told him President Wilford Woodruff was trying to get in touch with him. When he arrived in Salt Lake City, he called at the President's office where he saw President Woodruff, President Cannon and others. President Cannon told him of the White River project and their decision to send him to Nevada to take charge. He accepted the call February 20, 1898. He was told to see Bishop Preston, who was Presiding Bishop of the Church, for details of the assignment. Bishop Preston showed him a map of the ranches and he left Salt Lake City with the agreement that he would return to April Conference and go on to Nevada from there.
On April 2, Thomas Judd left St. George for Salt Lake City. Earl Ashworth, who was his nephew by marriage, drove the team. They took the trip in stages stopping at night with friends along the way. He mentions a blizzard that lasted all day the second day out and a sandstorm at Kanarra that he said was the worst he was ever in.
At Minersville, they left the team with a man named McKnight. Thomas Judd and others traveling to Salt Lake took the stage to Milford and the train from there to Salt Lake City. Earl Ashworth took the stage to Beaver where he was to wait until April 11, pick up the team and meet Thomas Judd at Frisco for the trip to Nevada.
The diary account of Thomas Judd's stay in Salt Lake City tells of a meeting of the State Board of Horticulture that he attended. It is possible that he made arrangements at this time for a large quantity of fruit trees to take to Nevada. The diary also tells of several meetings he held with Bishop Preston and the Nevada Land and Livestock Company. Bishop Styler, who was one of the agents he was replacing in Nevada, was also present at these meetings.
Much of his time in Salt Lake City was spent attending Conference and visiting old friends, among whom he mentioned his brother, Joseph Judd and Anthony W. Ivins. He also mentioned a number of recreational and cultural activities, two theater presentations, "A Boy Wanted" and "Monte Cristo", (the latter he termed "very good"), "the Welsh Prise(sic) Singers" and a lecture by Brother Talmage on Russia and the Russians. All of which gives us some insight into one side of Thomas Judd.
One entry in his diary reminds of the time in United States history that these events were taking place--"Quite an excitement on the streets. Consul Lee is recalled from Cuba and war feeling is running very high."
This entry for Monday, April 11, says in part, "Could not get off today as I intended, the first Presidency being so busy . . . . Bp. Preston showed me through the tithing store etc. We then went to the President's office. Saw Pres. Woodruff and Cannon, had some talk with them and was set apart as Bp. of the White Pine Ward to be attached to the Fillmore Stake for the present. Bros. Woodruff, Cannon and Preston officiated, Bro. Cannon being mouth."
As I was leaving, Pres. Woodruff said, 'God bless you, Bro. Judd, in this undertaking and I want to say that He will bless you and that you will be better off both spiritually and financially.' At the request of Bro. Woodruff Junr. (sic) I went to his home to dinner at which I met Bro. and Sister Grant, Aunt Rachel, Sister Booth, A. W. Ivins and Bro. and Sister Cowley."
The diary goes on to tell of traveling to Provo by train, on to Milford on the sleeper that night and then on to Frisco where Earl Ashworth was waiting for him. They loaded up with supplies at Frisco and left in the afternoon for Wah Wah Springs. They stopped at a number of ranches along the way where they bought hay at prices ranging from 35 cents to $1.
One entry says, "April 15--Got a good early start and 8 miles from Snake Creek passed a few houses and a store called Baker. This is in Nevada. Passed by several other ranches and traveled up a divide for about 20 miles to Osceola which is located in a steep canyon. About a mile down the west slope the canyon is narrow not being more than 50 to 100 yards wide. We continued on down quite a grade for 3 miles more then came to a nice smooth valley about 10 miles across, then over another mountain divide to Mrs. O'Connors mail station, about a mile down the west slope. She charged us $100 ($1.00?) for hay and 25 cents for water . . . . Roads are all very good. Have traveled today about 46 miles."
Entry for April 16--"Came down a canyon 2 miles running west then turn up a large valley called Steptoe and traveled about due north. Passed a new quartz mill closed and standing also Cummings and other ranches and reached the Murry ranch (Georgetown) near Ely, one of the places owned by the Church. Can see the town of Ely laying up the canyon west. Bro. Morley and boys, settlers from San Pete were in possession."
Note from Preston history--The first settlers from San Pete who had arrived in the Valley March 20, 1898, went first to the Home Ranch (Lund). Mart Petersen, who was working on the Home Ranch joined George Morley and his sons, Orlando and Isaac and when the others in the party settled on the Mattics ranch (Preston), they went to the Murry Creek ranch, later called Georgetown where Tom Judd found them. The other members of the party who went to Preston were Albert Gee, John Sorensen, James Jensen, Hiram Arnoldson, Lewis Lauritsen, Z. D. Bradley and Will Bradley and Dan Nicholas, whom they had picked up in Ely. In an entry some days later, Tom Judd states that he put "Bro. Morley in charge of the Murry settlement both temporally and spiritually."
Returning to Thomas Judd's journal--"Sunday, April 17, 1898--Left Murry Ranch at 9:30 A M. for White River. Went through the town of Ely, then up a canyon for about 6 miles in a westernly direction, then turned south and traveled about 10 miles through Cedar (juniper) timber and about 20 miles over a beautiful level road. Could see the ranch houses 20 miles before we reached them. (Note--This was the old Lund road that paralleled the Egan range on the east side of the valley past Water Canyon, and was used for freighting for many years until the county made a road connecting Lund and Preston with the Lincoln Highway Midland Trail between Ely and Tonopah.
Thomas Judd describes the Valley thus--"White River Valley is a very fine one. Looking north from the road a person can see about 30 miles, west 12 or 15 miles and south the valley extends more than 50 miles." And another entry--"There is a beautiful stream of water which comes from a spring out of the rocks and will water I should judge near upon 400 or 500 acres and will be very easily handled."
Little mention is made of Bishops Black and Styler in most of the records of the settlement of Lund and Preston other than that they were the first colonizing agents sent out by the Nevada Land and Livestock Company. We learn from Thomas Judd that when he arrived Black (Bishop Joseph Smith Black of Deseret, Utah) and his family were living on the Home Ranch and boarding seven ranch hands. Shortly after Thomas Judd arrived he and his family moved back to Deseret. At the dedication of the church bell as a D.U.P. memorial in 1967, D.U.P. President, Kate B. Carter spoke of having written his history for D.U.P. annals.
Preston history credits Bishop Styler of Oasis, Utah with laying out the townsite and assigning lots to the first settlers. As was mentioned, Thomas Judd met with him at a Nevada Land and Livestock meeting in Salt Lake City. He also mentions in his diary that a few days after he came Bishop Styler arrived bringing a load of supplies. They spent some time together inspecting the two White River projects, the Murry ranch and a rather puzzling reference to looking over land at Snow. After staying at the Murry ranch over night they went into Ely where Tom Judd met Mr. Decker, editor of The White Pine paper to which he subscribed for six months at a cost of $2.50. They also met some others, a Mr. Graham, Mr. McGill and Mr. Davis and sold some barley and wheat to a Mr. Hayes for which he got a check. Apparently Mr. Judd made a settlement with Bishop Styler at this time and left him in Ely.
The history of John L. Whipple tells that he was hired in St. George by Thomas Judd for the Nevada Land and Livestock Company to come to Nevada to care for the cattle that remained with the ranches. He rode horseback to White River and met Tom Judd at the ranch. Thomas Judd's diary mentions some very fine Durham cattle he found on the ranch and also that on April 18, John Whipple arrived from St. George, and on the same day Chris Petersen came from Ely and John, Wm., and George Laub from Gunlock. He mentions the different work assignments the men were given. John Whipple, Chris Petersen and Earl Ashworth were sent out to gather cattle.
One accomplishment of that first week was preparing the ground and setting out fruit trees. From his references to meetings in Salt Lake City with the Horticulture Society, it is logical to assume that Mr. Judd brought the trees with him from Utah. In any case he states that he and four of the hands set out 200 apple trees, 50 pears, 5 plums, 50 prunes, 20 apricots, 20 quinces, 25 nectarines and some gooseberries, strawberries and rhubarb. It is a matter of conjecture how many of these survived. I am sure some did for although the settlers generally found the soil too alkaline to raise fruit during those first years, the soil on the bench near the spring had more granite in its composition and a number of things grew there that did not grow lower in the valley. George Fawcett said that John Whipple and Mart Petersen helped plant the trees.
The entry for April 24 says that after leaving the Murry ranch Tom Judd met John Whipple and Chris Petersen in Ely with beef. A direct quote says, "Also called at P.O. and left Ely a little after 12 n... Stopped on the divide and got dinner. Reached Lund at 7:25 P.M." (which seems to indicate a buggy and a pretty fast team.) He goes on to say that when he reached Lund he found Sam Carter, Don Alger, Young Bryson, Ed Hendrix, Wm. Terry, Otis Terry, Oxborrow, Jesse Bland (Blake?) and Tom Blair. It is possible that Oxborrow meant Oxborrows, Joseph, George and Ephriam, who all came about this time.
On April 25, he says, among other things, that he went over the land with the St. George boys and in the evening made the selection of land for Ed Hendrix, Wm. Terry, 0. Terry, Tom Blair, Tolton Blair, Eph Oxborrow, Jesse Bland (Blake), Don Alger, Bryson, Sam Carter and Heber and Empey.
The activities of April 26 seemed preparatory to a return trip to St. George. Mr. Judd says he took a count of the grain, measured the hay, arranged to help Sam Carter, 0. Terry, Jesse Bland and E. Oxborrow with tools, horses etc. while the boys branded about 70 calves and dehorned some others. Another direct quote, "Give (gave) instructions to Black and Barnum and got started for Mr. Riordan's place at 3:40 P.M. and arrived there at 6:30 P.M. Was treated kindly, had a very nice supper, spent some time in conversation and slept in their old home. Distance from Lund to Riordan's 18 miles. Road good."
The owners of the Riordan ranch were Mike and Hannah Riordan who, at this time had been on the ranch called Emigrant Springs since 1871, almost 30 years. For many years Emigrant Springs served as a way station on the stage route between Pioche and Hamilton. Different generations of Riordans lived on the ranch for 75 years which is probably the reason the name "Riordan's Ranch" still sticks.
One entry in Thomas Judd's diary mentions a letter he received from "D W H Ivin" which we might assume to mean Delle and William H. Ivins. He must have answered their letter with a favorable report because a few weeks later, in May, William H. and Delle Redd Ivins, with their two children, Loraine and Lillis, left St. George for White River. They took two weeks for the trip which Delle describes as enjoyable and leisurely with frequent stops to milk the cow and even make butter.
The country was strange to them and when they got to Sunnyside they took a wrong turn and arrived at the Big Warm Springs Ranch (Hot Creek). When they saw the green fields and bunk houses, they thought they had arrived at Lund and were somewhat dismayed to find they had to retrace their way about six miles and then still had thirty miles to go. After living on the Hot Creek ranch for almost twenty years the James Riordans (uncle to Jim Riordan of Emigrant Springs) sold the ranch in 1898 to Adams and McGill. The Riordans may have still been there in May or it might have been the caretakers for Adams and McGill who directed the Ivinses to White River. When they arrived at Lund they moved into one of the buildings near the spring.
Sometime in the spring of 1898, Bryant (Byze) Ashby and his wife, Lillian, with their oldest child, Garr, arrived in the Valley and shortly thereafter Lillian's parents, Allen Sr. and Ann Elizabeth Wakeling came. They had their unmarried children, Ellen, Tom, James and Allen with them. Byze Ashby and the Wakelings had worked with Thomas Judd at La Verkin for a time before coming to Lund. They, too, lived temporarily in houses on the Home Ranch.
The William Davis family is mentioned in most early histories as being one of the first families to settle in the area so it is possible they, also, came in the spring of 1898.
Exact dates in many of the family histories are missing but we will try to give the chronology of those first years as accurately as possible. We know that the following San Pete men came in March, 1898 and were in the area when Thomas Judd arrived: James Jensen, Hiram Arnoldson, Lewis Lauritsen, Albert Gee, Z. D. Bradley, Will Bradley, John Sorensen and Dan Nicholas at Preston, George Morley, his sons, Isaac and Orlando, and Mart Petersen on the Murry ranch near Ely later to be called Georgetown for George Morley.
We also know that these St. George men had arrived at the Tom Plane ranch (Lund) either to work or look at the possibilities in April, 1898: in addition to Thomas Judd as colonizing agent, Earl Ashworth, John L. Whipple, William A. Terry, Otis Terry, Edmund Hendrix, the Oxborrow brothers, Joseph, Ephriam and George, Sam Carter and Jesse Blake. Others from St. George were mentioned in Thomas Judd's diary but since they did not remain are not relevant to this history.
We know that William H. and Delle R. Ivins came in May of 1898 and that other families came about the same time. One clue we have is that a fast and testimony meeting was held as early as June 5, 1898 and there were twenty adults and fourteen children present, indicating the arrival of more than one family earlier that spring.
Contrary to the popular belief that as each family arrived, they immediately took over a piece of ground, plowed and planted a garden, there are indications that this is not entirely true. There was much work to be done, laying out the town, dividing the farm land, breaking up the alfalfa and brushland, engineering an equable irrigation system, etc. We also know that the official drawing for lots did not occur until October of that year, 1898, so it is reasonable to assume that they spent the first summer working together toward that end.
Furthermore most of the first settlers moved into the log and rock houses as well as tents and lean-tos on the Home Ranch where they lived that first year. So, in all probability, the garden or gardens mentioned in the early records were planted on the land already under cultivation on the Home Ranch site and were, more or less, a joint undertaking under the supervision of Lauren Barnum.
Lauren Barnum occupies a unique place in the history of Lund. His father had been one of the earliest converts to the church and had acted as a bodyguard to Joseph Smith. Later he came to Utah with Brigham Young's company but his wife refused to come so Lauren grew up with his mother in the east. He, in turn, left a wife with one child and another on the way to come west, lured by stories of gold in California. On his way he stopped in Salt Lake City where he renewed his association with his father and, under his influence, joined the church. Some years later, when he was seeking employment, he was hired by Nichols and Parsons to manage the Tom Plane ranch which they owned. When the Nevada Land and Livestock Company took over the ranch for the church and put Black and Styler in charge of colonization he stayed on as overseer.
So Lauren Barnum was not only the first Mormon to settle on the site that was to be Lund, but he had done much of the work to build up the ranch, irrigating, raising the alfalfa and feeding it to the livestock, fencing and, we may assume, raising much of the food to feed the families and ranch hands. His familiarity with the ranch made him an invaluable asset to Thomas Judd and he continued to supervise the routine work of the ranch while it was being converted into a colony. This association led to a friendship between these two men that was to last the rest of their lives. When Thomas Judd moved back to La Verkin four and a half years later, Mr. Barnum, as he was always called, went too, driving his team of sleek black horses of which he was very proud. He called them Snip and Smoky. James Judd, son of Thomas Judd said, "Mr. Barnum was at the Home Ranch that Father bought and we always said that we bought Mr. Lauren Barnum with the ranch."
Early histories invariably mention the melons that were taken to Water Canyon on a picnic that fall to celebrate the drawing for lots. Some accounts say Will Ivins raised the melons. George Fawcett mentions "the melons Mr. Barnum raised," and in one place Delle Ivins notes, "Will helped Mr. Barnum raise the melons," which resolves the matter and lends credence to the supposition that the gardens that first summer were a joint effort.
The object of that summer's work was of course, an equable division of the property to provide parcels of land suitable for small farm and ranching operations and also to lay out the townsite. Rather than a scattered settlement with each family living on their own farm, the plan was to make a town by locating the homes together near the large spring at the foot of the Egan range on the east side of the valley with the farmlands lying west of the town.
White Pine County surveyor, Aaron Campton, and an unnamed surveyor sent out by the Nevada Land and Livestock Company did the surveying and the town was laid out in an alfalfa field. It was commonly called lucerne. In her book, White Pine Lang Syne, Effie Read describes one part of the operation thus, "The pattern of the town lots and streets was made in a green lucerne patch by lacing tall white pine stakes with new hemp rope."
Sam Carter and Joseph Oxborrow were hired to cut the alfalfa to get the lots ready for homes and gardens which suggests that the work probably lasted well through the summer. They cut the hay with hand scythes. Another necessary job in preparation for the division of the land was the removal of miles and miles of fence that Mr. Barnum had spent much time and effort to build under the direction of the earlier ranch owners.
In July, 1898, John Whipple returned to St. George and brought his wife, Rose, and three children, Murray, La Verne and Eliza Dent to White River, and they moved into one of the ranch houses near the spring.
The Joseph Oxborrow family came in October of that year. Joseph was already in Lund and his brother, Jack, drove the wagon that brought his wife, Sabra, and children, Marie, Bryant and Rodney. Their mother, Mary L. Oxborrow and her daughter, La Vera, were also with the party but they did not stay at this time. A snowstorm they ran into before they got to Lund was an unusual sight for children coming from St. George and they were tucked into the beds in the back of the wagon to keep warm. The Joe Oxborrow family also moved into one of the Home Ranch buildings temporarily.
There is some disagreement in the various histories as to the time of the arrival of the Hendrix family. Edmund Hendrix Sr. was mentioned in Thomas Judd's journal as one of the men who arrived in April 1898. Ervin Hendrix gave the time as the fall of 1898 when Edmund Sr. brought his first wife, Mary Ellen, and family Daniel, Ervin, Gideon, Lorain, Lee and Lucy and the oldest son of his second wife, Priscilla, Edmund Jr.
An earlier quote from Thomas Judd's diary mentions that a selection of land was made for a number of the men who were on the ranch in April. The official drawing for lots was held in October 1898. The families at that time were Ivins, Davis, Ashby, Wakeling, Whipple and Sam Carter. The single men or men who had not yet brought their families were Wm. Terry, Otis Terry, Joseph, George and Ephriam Oxborrow, Jesse Blake, and Edmund Hendrix. More people came from southern Utah for the drawing and the following new arrivals were also present, Lafayette and James Carter, Jacob Gubler, George Fawcett Jr., John P. Horsley, Joseph and Samuel Judd and Bertha Smith.
Isabel Smith Chesnut said that her father, Heber Smith, was quite indifferent to the idea of acquiring a farm saying he was a carpenter not a farmer but her mother, Bertha, was insistent and since she could handle a team as well as a man, she took the initiative and, with her two small daughters, Isabel and Mona, drove to Lund and entered the drawing.
George Fawcett reported that the method for choosing was to drive around to the different sites. If the first in line did not want a particular piece, the next one had a chance and so on. Whatever the method used, the people seemed satisfied, for the most part, with the day's work and planned a picnic at Water Canyon to celebrate. This was the picnic where the long-remembered melons were the main feature.
More important were the practical aspects of the transaction. Lots in town ranged from $22.50 to $25 each. Cultivated farm land, divided into ten-acre plots, ranged from $12 to $19 per acre. Uncultivated or pasture land was sold for $6.50 per acre. The five year contract between the settlers and the Land and Livestock Company specified a down payment of 10 percent of the purchase price, 10 percent the following January and 20 percent each year for the remainder. The Company also allowed notes in payment at 8 percent interest. Water rights were included in the transaction. The total amount paid to the Nevada Land and Livestock Company was $30,000, a small sum when compared to the value today.
A permanent flow of water from the spring was sufficient to supply the needs of the town and irrigate the near-by fields. Some of the more distant fields received their water from the White River stream which varied and a spring in the Preston area commonly called the Home Ranch stream. Changes and development in the irrigation system will be discussed in another section. Water for the home lots and gardens was taken from the main stream in small ditches and shareholders were allowed one hour per share every five days. Although irrigation turns in the fields might come at any time day or night, lot turns were scheduled for the daylight hours. This arrangement has persisted to the present time.
In the fall of 1898 of course, this plan was only a dream. The few families who had arrived earlier were living in the bunk houses near the spring and these along with the tents and wagon beds of the newcomers who had come for the drawing, the campfires, the champing of the horses tethered near-by, must have seemed like a camp-out for the pioneer trek across the plains. Just as then, the prevailing spirit was one of neighborliness and cooperation. Ina Gubler Gilfillan tells that her father, Jacob Gubler, never forgot the friendliness of Rose Whipple who brought milk to him every day while he was camped there. On his return trip to St. George he had an opportunity to pass the kindness on in an episode taken from Susie Terry's memoirs.
In November of 1898 Susie's husband, Otis Terry returned to St. George to move their family, Grace and Vern, to their new home in Nevada. They loaded all their household furniture in a double bed wagon with the bed springs on top and their milk cow tied behind. The actual travel time was six days but they were delayed at Eagle Valley for a week with their sick baby. Worried at this delay, Eph Oxborrow went looking for them. When he met them he offered to drive their outfit and let them take his light buckboard so they could travel faster with their sick baby. Before they reached their destination, however, a sudden change in the weather, a phenomenon common to Nevada, caught them unprepared. The bitter cold and driving snow reminded them of the bedding and extra clothing they had left in the other wagon. Susie says they would have frozen to death if they had not met Jacob Gubler returning to St. George from White River. He gave them two of his quilts which kept them from freezing and that evening they arrived at the Lewis ranch, the southernmost ranch in White River Valley. This was the Sunnyside ranch that in later years changed hands a number of times and was finally sold by Ervin Hendrix to the Fish and Wildlife Service for a game preserve and recreation area.
Before he brought Susie, Otis had begun work on the lot he had drawn. There was a lumber shack, a pile of hay, a corral and a dugout some distance from the rest of the ranch buildings. It was or the corner of the next block south of where the high school now stands. When, from the top of the ridge, Otis showed Susie her new home all she could say was, "Oh, my lord!"
That winter William Terry came back from St. George with his son, George, got logs from the mountains, and made a log cabin for his family to come in the spring. It still stands on Van Gardner's property across the street from his home. Tressa Terry Hyde says it was the first house to be built on the Lund town site, although the temporary shelter built by Otis Terry might be considered the first.