This house, built about 1858, is a significant example of one of the traditional building designs found in early Utah Vernacular architecture. Three of Manti’s most prominent families lived here. Orville Southerland Cox, the builder, was a leading Mormon colonizer. Jezreel Shoemaker who took over the house in 1861, was three times mayor of Manti. In 1879, Edward Parry, a stone mason from Wales, moved into the house to supervise the masonry work on the Manti Temple.
The Cox-Shoemaker-Parry house is an excellent example of early vernacular architecture in Utah. Constructed around 1858, the six-bay, double-pen plan is representative of the range of traditional building designs found in the state during the second half of the nineteenth century. The house also demonstrates the process by which older houses were remodeled to meet the demands of changing architectural fashion. The home is also significant as the residence of three of Manti’s most prominent families. The builder was Orville Southerland Cox, a leading colonizer of the Mormon West who personally figured in founding and settling a dozen towns. When Cox was called in 1861 by Church authorities to colonize the Big Muddy in Nevada, the home became the property of Jezreel Shoemaker. Shoemaker was a wealthy convert to the LDS Church who arrived in Manti in 1849 with the first contingent of pioneers. He participated on the first city council and later, in addition to his many ecclesiastical duties as a member of the local church hierarchy, served three terms as mayor of the city. Shoemaker died in 1879, just as work was commencing on the monumental temple which the Mormons were planning to build in Manti. Edward Parry, a stone mason from Wales, was called to Sanpete County to supervise the masonry work on the massive limestone edifice. In local tradition, the home is primarily associated with Edward Parry, the master mason of the Manti Temple.
Manti was settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, the Mormons, in 1849 as part of their larger colonization of much of
the Intermountain West. Although the town was surveyed in 1850, tension
between the newcomers and the native Utahns, the Sanpitch (Shoshone) Indians, confined most families to the protective forts which were constructed in the town during the first decade of settlement. 2 A large fort, enclosing nine city blocks was completed in 1854 and several families began building private residences within its stone walls. Orville Southerland Cox, one of the members of the first company to reach Manti, began hauling oolite limestone from the nearby quarry in 1858 for his two-story home.
Orville S. Cox was born in 1815 in Plymouth, New York. 4 A blacksmith by
trade, Cox followed the westward moving frontier, landing by 1837 in the
Mormon settlement near Lima, Illinois. Here he met and married a Mormon girl, Elvira P. Mills. In 1839, the young couple visited Nauvoo, where Orville was converted and baptized by the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. After the martyrdom of Smith and the expulsion of the Saints from Illinois, the Coxes followed the general exodus to Utah in 1847. Orville served two years as the presiding bishop of Bountiful, a town several miles north of Salt Lake City, before being sent in the pioneer party to Sanpete County in 1849. In the new community of Manti, Cox was primarily engaged as a blacksmith and lumber dealer as well as serving as counselor to Bishop John Lowery, Sr. By 1860, Orville Cox had entered into Mormon sanctioned polygamy and had three families. In 1861-1862, he moved his first wife, Elvira Mills, to the town of Fairview, Sanpete County. In 1864, Cox moved with his two other wives, Mary Alien and Eliza J. Losee, to the LDS settlement on the Big Muddy, in Nevada.5 In later years, the Coxes also participated in the cooperative, Utopian experiment at Orderville. Orville S. Cox died in 1888 at Fairview. When Orville Cox pulled out of Manti for Nevada, the big stone house was purchased by Jezreel Shoemaker.
Jezreel Shoemaker was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1796. Brought
up along the frontier, Shoemaker was involved in farming and lumbering when he moved to Adams County, Illinois in 1828. Near Quincy, along the Mississippi, he homesteaded 160 acres and eventually built up the largest farm in the county. When he joined the LDS Church in the early 1840’s, he was one of the wealthiest men to affiliate with the young religious movement. When the church was forced from Illinois in 1846-1847, he sold or gave away his lands and migrated west to Salt Lake City. In 1849 he was called by Brigham Young to settle Manti in Sanpete County. Here he continued to prosper in the accumulation of material wealth as well as spiritual favor. Shoemaker served on the High Council of the local ecclesiastical ward and carried out three terms as mayor of Manti City. He died in 1879.
As the principal city in Sanpete County, Manti was selected in the late 1870’s
as the site of a Mormon temple.8 Brigham Young, the church president,
dedicated the land in 1877, shortly before his death. William Folsom from
Salt Lake City was selected as temple architect in 1875 and work commenced in 1879. Since the monumental building was to be constructed of the local oolite limestone, a mason of considerable talent was required to supervise the work. Edward L. Parry, an immigrant from Wales, was brought into the project in the spring of 1877 as chief mason. Parry had been born in 1818 in Denbigshire, Wales, where he learned the mason’s trade from his father. He joined the LDS Church in 1853 and emigrated to Utah. During the late 1850’s he was instrumental in laying the foundations of the Salt Lake City Temple (not completed until 1893), but in 1862 he was sent south to St. George in Washington County. Here he built the city hall and courthouse and served as master mason on the St. George Tabernacle and temple. In 1877, Parry moved on, well-qualified, for his role in raising the Manti temple, a building considered by many to be the finest example of nineteenth century Mormon architecture. The temple was dedicated in 1888 and Parry then formed the company, E. L. Parry and Sons, specializing in stonework and marble cutting. Edward L. Parry died in 1902. The house remained in the Parry family until 1961.