The Samuel Singleton House is significant as one of the best preserved examples of a frame Eastlake Cottage in Southeastern Utah, a late-developing area of the state where few architecturally elaborate structures were built. Examples of full-blown Eastlake style occurred infrequently in Utah, which was still relatively isolated at the height of the style’s national popularity. Eastlake ornament on simpler cottages, like Samuel Singleton’s, was often removed later for want of maintenance. The Singleton house is also significant for its association with one of the area’s earliest and most prominent settlers. The house, constructed in 1896, symbolizes the transition from the Castle Valley frontier of the late 1870’s and 1880’s to a community society by 1900. Samuel Singleton, who arrived in Castle Valley in the 1870’s, played an important role in this transition which saw the evolution of housing from dugouts and log cabins, to more substantial brick and wood frame homes. The Samuel Singleton House, constructed in 1896 for one of the area’s most prominent livestockmen, merchants and businessmen, symbolizes the changes that occurred during the twenty-year period that Castle Valley and Ferron evolved from a livestock frontier to a permanent community.
Located at 320 South State Street in Ferron, Utah
Southeastern Utah including the communities of Bluff, Moab and the Castle Valley settlements of Huntington, Castle Dale, Orangeville, and Ferron was the last large area of Utah to be settled by Mormons. The large area, located on the Colorado Plateau rather than the Great Basin, was separated from the earlier Mormon towns of Sanpete, Iron, and Washington Counties by the Wasatch Plateau. The miles of rugged canyons and deserts offered little promise of settlement and only hard work for the livestockmen who hoped to feed their animals on its land.
Nevertheless, by the mid 1870’s the need for new rangeland, primarily by livestockmen from Sanpete and Utah valleys, brought a small, but important number of herders and cattlemen into Castle Valley, many of whom stayed to make it their home. These herders were, for the most part, sons of first generation Mormons. They had grown up on the Mormon frontier and while there was no question of their loyalty to the Mormon Church, the frontier experience in Utah made their generation distinctly different from that of their fathers – most of whom had grown up in the East or England and Scandinavia. As young men, many of these second generation Mormons, spent many weeks in the wilderness herding cattle and sheep. Not visiting a community of church for long periods, they let their hair grow while their language and mannerisms took on the color and roughness of the cattlemen’s frontier.
This was the world of Samuel Singleton, born November 9, 1859, in American Fork, Utah, to John Singleton and Hannah Binns. John Singleton died in 1865 and Samuel Singleton was required at an early age to assume the duties of helping to support his family. As a consequence, Samuel received little formal schooling, but instead, as soon as he was old enough, began to work for various cattle and sheep men in the American Fork area. At the age of 14, he accepted a job with Billy Grant, a sheepman in the Salina Canyon area. He was offered $25 per month as a cook. He worked for Grant only a short time then took a job with Tom Simpers, a cattleman in the area. Saving most of his $25 a month wage, in a little over a year Samuel earned $300 which he gave to his mother to study obstetrics and children’s diseases under Dr. Pratt. According to family accounts, “This profession made her an independent individual and she became one of prominent women of American Fork”.
After providing his mother the $300, Samuel Singleton continued working with cattlemen in Castle Valley, but began taking his wages in cattle in order to build up his own herd. During this time, he married Clara Bill Lowey, January 17, 1884. They had first met in 1879 when Clara came from Manti to stay with her half-sister Eunice Molen, wife of Mike Molen, a Castle Valley cattleman.
Samuel Singleton’s success in the livestock business became the springboard to other local business ventures. Following the custom in other Mormon communities, church leaders in Ferron decided to open a cooperative store. The Ferron bishopric asked Samuel Singleton to organize the cooperative and travel to Salt Lake City to purchase $250
worth of goods for the store. The $250 was not sufficient to outfit the store and Singleton invested $1600 of his livestock earnings. The cooperative store was successful and Singleton continued as manager for several years until he purchased stock from other stockholders and became the owner of the store.
A roller mill was organized as a cooperative in 1897. Samuel Singleton was one of the principle stockholders of this establishment. A creamery was also needed in the area so he organized another stock company in about 1905 for the establishment of a creamery. In order to make this a more successful enterprise, he and another stockholder, William Killpack, went to Iowa and purchased a carload of Jersey cows which was sold to the dairymen of Ferron.
The Emery County bank was organized in 1906. Sam, an ardent supporter of the bank, was a stockholder and became vice-president; he later became the president and held this position until his death.
It was after he became a merchant the the Singleton House was constructed in 1896. The work was done by local craftsmen, Tom Jones and Will McKenzie were carpenters and Swain Ross the painter. The interior was lined with adobes from an older house in Ferron. Yellow was the original color and the house has not been painted any other color.
Samuel Singleton was also active in local politics running as Perron’s first Mayor after its incorporation in 1900 and as an Emery County Commissioner. He died July 5, 1929. The house remained in the possession of his widow, Clara Bell Singleton until May 1, 1955 when she sold it to her grandson and present owner, Samuel M. Singleton.
Samuel M. Singleton was born in Ferron and is currently (1979) Principal of the San Rafael Junior High School in Ferron. He has been involved in education in Emery County since 1948 teaching at South Emery High School in 1948 then 1952 to 1963 and at Emery County High School from 1963 to 1973 when he became Principal at San Rafael Junior High School. Mr. Singleton is active in the Singleton family organization and was the principal editor of A History of John Singleton of American Fork, Utah, and His Ancestors and Descendants. Mr. Singleton is currently committed to the preservation of the house and its retention by the Singleton family.
The Singleton House is a wood frame pattern book cottage. It is built following an H-plan, the least common of the “alphabet” play types common in early Utah. The front façade is composed of two projecting gabled bays, one hexagonal and one rectangular, connected by a sloped-roof porch. Although the porch balusters are gone, the turned porch columns and full-width spindle band remain. The gables over the bays are covered two-thirds in alternating plain and imbricate shingles, with the upper third in wood siding painted in a brick-like pattern. All of the front and side windows are one-over-one sash, with the upper sash done in round rich glass set in rectangular frames and Eastlake surrounds. Outside doors open from every room but one. The interior includes a cherrywood fireplace. The interior ceilings have been lowered from eleven to eight and a half feet.