This cabin was used as a family home from 1876 to 1956. It was the home of George and Hannah Wheeler and their ten children.
George Walton Wheeler headed west in 1854 with his father, Levi, bringing the first steam engine and sawmill west of the Missouri River. George was ten years old.
Hannah was born December 18, 1846, in Gloucester, England, daughter of George and Harriet Harding Humphries. The family came west with the Willie Handcard Company in 1856. Walking alongside the handcart were six children, ages eighteen, fourteen, twelve, nine, six and one. Hannah Humphries and George Walton Wheeler were married in 1862.
Logs were cut at the Wheeler Sawmill where they were floated miles down the Cub River. There the logs were taken from the river and hauled to the homestead. When Hannah and George moved into their little home in 1876, there was only enough flooring to go under the bed. A fresh water spring was near the cabin. A granary and a barn were also built. George Walton Wheeler made each building with full dovetail corners. Each square nail was made in his own blacksmith shop. From the cabin’s location, all of Cache Valley can be seen.
In memory of Ira Elias Merrill, first person buried in the Smithfield Cemetery, was born at Alder, Erie County, New York, in 1835, the son of Austin and Laura Wilder Harris Merrill. He was killed in an Indian attack July 23, 1860 as he and his brother Solyman were returning from the hills east of Smithfield with a load of brush to be used on the bowery for the community Pioneer Day Celebration. Hostilities between the pioneers and the Indians began near the site of this marker. A settler and several Smithfield pioneers were wounded.
Construction for this large, Victorian Gothic style Smithfield Tabernacle began in 1883, was completed in 1902, and was renovated in 1955. The building is significant as it was the primary place of worship for the LDS community in Smithfield for many decades. The tabernacle was financed and constructed by the local Smithfield LDS Ward congregation. Constructing such a large edifice was unusual for a small congregation. The majority of LDS tabernacles were constructed by and for multiple LDS congregations to meet in a larger congregation called a Stake. The building is also important for its association with the planning and development of Smithfield City, specifically in the use of public space. Typical of early Mormon settlements in the Great Basin region, this large edifice was constructed on the public square to serve as the community center and to establish a feeling of permanence.
From the time of its construction, the Smithfield Tabernacle was the largest building in Smithfield and was the symbolic center of the community. Its distinctive yellow brick was locally manufactured in Smithfield. In addition to religious meetings, the building was used for all large community gatherings, including plays, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and political and agricultural meetings.
When the local LDS congregation outgrew the Smithfield Tabernacle in 1942 and out of concern for the deterioration of the unused building, residents found a new purpose for the building as a much-needed youth recreation center. It served as the only public recreation facility in Smithfield from 1955 until the construction of a new recreation center in 2000. Although some architectural details have been altered or were removed, the building still clearly reflects its original use as a place of worship while accommodating the more recent use as a recreation facility.
Located at 99 West Center Street in Smithfield, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#100000509) on January 17, 2017
Near this location on the south side of Summit Creek, the first pioneers from Salt Lake, led by John P. Wright, began the settlement Smithfield. The land was surveyed and lots assigned. By May 10, 1859, they commenced to plow, plant crops and gardens, but did not build homes. In June, a horseman brought word that the families should return to Peter Maughn’s Fort, located at Wellsville, because of the threatening activities by the Indians.
On October 10, 1859, brothers Robert and John Thornley, Jr. and cousin Seth Langton arrived and built the first log cabin on the shore of Summit Creek. The cut and stacked wild grass to feed their animals throughout the winter. They returned to Salt Lake and brought their families with ten wagons, arriving December 1, 1859, and camped near their cabin. They were greeted by seven of the original families who had planted gardens earlier in the spring. The winter was spent living in wagon boxes, tents, or dugouts, and cooking over campfires.
The first birth was Harriet Ann Hunt, daughter of Marshall and Sarah Ann Runnion (Runyon) Hunt. She was born in a wagon box during a snowstorm on November 20, 1859.
An Indian attack in 1860 prompted the settlers to build a fort 1/2 mile east of this location, which aligned with the main street in Logan. Sixty-eighth cabins were associated with the fort. In 1864 it was thought safe for individual dwellings, and the fort was abandoned; farming commenced , cattle were raised, and businesses flourished.
By 1868 the settlement had a leather tannery; flour, shingle, and molasses mills; a limekiln; and a mercantile store, Smithfield Cooperative Association. The store was operated in John and Margaret Stringfellow Thornley’s home, where farmers, customers, and travelers were made welcome.
John G. Smith was called by Apostles Orson Hyde and Ezra T. Benson in November of 1869 to serve as the first bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Summit Creek. The town was renamed Smithfield in his honor. For several years, the town was referred to as both Summit Creek and Smithfield.
This is D.U.P. Marker #550 (see others on this page) and it is located on the Smithfield walking path in Heritage Park at about 335 West Center Street in Smithfield, Utah.
Built in 1883, the Douglas General Mercantile Store is locally significant as the oldest remaining commercial building in the town of Smithfield, Cache County, Utah. The town was founded in October 1859 as part of Cache Valley, which was itself settled in 1856 during the first stage of the Mormon colonization of Utah. William Douglas, who operated the store, began business in Smithfield in 1865, obtaining goods from the East and wholesaling them throughout the area. In 1883, when the building was constructed, it was one of only three such establishments in the town, and remains as the only physical structure tied to Smithfield’s early commercial history. The building has been associated with the commercial activity in the town through the firms of Douglas Mercantile, James Cantwell & Son, and the Union Merc Company since 1883. In addition, the building is the second oldest mercantile building identified to date that is located outside Utah’s heavily populated area known as the Wasatch Front, which comprises four of Utah’s twenty-nine counties. The oldest building is the Ephraim United Order Cooperative Building constructed in 1871-71. Also, the building gains added importance in the history of Smithfield because of its unique construction, the only one of its type in the town. Stone was used for the rear and two side walls in a rubble construction technique, while brick was utilized on the upper half of the façade and coursed sandstone for the lower half. Thus, the building represents the use of four different building materials as wood was also utilized.
Located at 101 South Main Street in Smithfield, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#82004113) on August 4, 1982.
The town of Smithfield in Cache Valley, Utah, was tied to the early Mormon colonization of Utah. Part of what has been labeled “the inner cordon of settlements,” Cache Valley was itself settled in 1856, and Smithfield in 1859. As an agricultural region in northern Utah, Cache Valley aided in the supplying of goods not only to northern Utah, but also to mining regions in Idaho and Montana. Smithfield, which began as a settlement of dugouts and wagons, in 1860 became a village with houses arranged in “fort style” (forming a square where the rear portions of the buildings constituted the walls of the fort). It had been named Smithfield in 1859 for John Glover Smith, the first Mormon bishop, who exercised power in both church and civic affairs.
William M. and Cyntheann Merrill Douglas arrived in Smithfield in 1862. Douglas was born in Scotland in 1839, came to Utah in 1854 as a convert to the Mormon church, and settled in Salt Lake City. He established a general store in Salt Lake in partnership with Thomas Richardson. It was with Richardson that Douglas operated a store in 1865 in Smithfield. Goods were hauled from Chicago, Illinois to Ogden, Utah (about 35 miles north of Salt Lake), then to Smithfield by team. There, these goods would be wholesaled to nearby towns such as Richmond and Logan (eventually the Cache County seat). According to one local source, the indication was that Douglas and Richardson served as early distributors of general merchandise for the entire Cache Valley area.
William Douglas and Thomas Richardson were both called to serve missions for the LDS church in 1869, closing the store. In 1871 Douglas reopened his business in a frame structure. By 1883 business was such that the merchant could afford to construct the present wood, stone, brick, and sandstone building. Architecturally, the Douglas General Mercantile represents a unique type of construction in Smithfield, utilizing four different building materials–the only one of its kind in town.
In 1897 Douglas sold the structure and business to James Cantwell, who had settled in Smithfield in 1862. Cantwell served as the town’s postmaster and city councilman for nearly 20 years. The store operated as James Cantwell & Son until 1910, when it was sold to William L. Winn and Lorenzo Toolsen, who established the Union Mercantile corporation. Thus, the building served as a main commercial establishment for the agricultural town of Smithfield, and as it is the only remaining commercial building from the town’s early history, gains local significance and importance. Since 1964 the Smithfield American Legion Post has occupied and used the building. No immediate plans have been made to rehabilitate or restore the building.
Pioneer Park was conceived and constructed by the friends and neighbors of the Greater Mendon area as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration marking 150 years since the first Mormon Pioneers made the trek from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley.
Dedicated July 12, 1997 by Elder M. Russell Ballard Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mendon Time Capsule Deposited July 22, 2000 To be opened and redeposited July 24, 2050 To be opened July 24, 2100
Nestled between our ancestors in the cemetery to the west and our citizens to the east, Mendon Pioneer Park embodies the spirit of all eras of Mendon’s history. The park has evolved from a sagebrush flat, to a beautiful park.
With its new covering of grass, trees, flowers, and monuments it’s now time to enjoy a quieter time of life – a time to reflect on our heritage and look forward to new generations. It symbolizes the development of our town and its people from the earliest days to far into the future. May God always bless this park with peace, happiness, and the serenity we feel today. May we, the citizens of Mendon, live worthy of the efforts to preserve this parcel of land and of those who had a hand in this Park’s completion and the establishment of our town.
We express our gratitude to the early settlers who cleared the fields, built the streets, planted the trees, founded the town, and left us with a wonderful legacy.
May those who follow do the same.
The Citizens of Mendon City July 22, 2000
Mendon, Utah Latitude: 41° 42′, 32.91387″ West Longitude: 111° 59′, 55.58957″ North Elevation: 4562.632 feet above sea level Number of homes: 265 Population: 905 2000 A.D.
Located at the base of the Mendon Mountain on the western side of Cache Valley, this area was once a favorite hunting ground for the Shoshone Indians. White settlement began in 1859 when eight Mormon emigrant families from England, Wales, Scotland and Denmark built the first permanent log cabins in a fort arrangement on the town square just east of here. As of 2000 A.D., five generations have called Mendon home. Its picturesque setting, strong community traditions and secluded rural location continue to make Mendon a favorite hometown to many.
In this millennial year, we the citizens of Mendon have deposited in the enclosed time capsule some mementoes that give a glimpse of our day and the community in which we live.
Looking back, we offer profound thanks for a rich heritage that makes Mendon our home.
To future generations, we look forward to your contributions to the next millennium. May you love Mendon as we have and may your contributions built upon the strengths of this community.
Mendon Millennial Time Capsule Committee Kristine Sorensen Groll Rodney Sorensen June Bowen Paul R. Willie Justin J. Anderson
Mendon City Sydney K. Larsen, Mayor
City Council Leslie Jensen Joe Yonk Tamara Jensen Rodney Sorensen Bruce W. Anderson
This original log home was first constructed as a part of the Mendon Fort in 1859. It was owned by Ole Peder (Peter) Sorensen (from Denmark), one of the first settlers of Mendon.
The two rows of 25 log homes in the fort were built close together, facing each other. Peter with his wife, Fredrrika (Rikke) Andersen Sorensen, and three children lived in this home and then moved it to a lot one block south of here when the Mendon Fort was dismantled in 1864.
The logs came from the mountains west of Mendon and were hewn by hand, utilizing a 90 degree V notching system. Small wood branches were tightly wedged between the large logs, and the remaining gap was filled with a lime and clay daubing mortar. The top two logs on the east and west ends of the home were spliced with wooden dowels, as the constructors apparently ran short of logs of sufficient length.
Originally the home had a dirt floor and a sod roof. The home served for 130 years as the kitchen/cooking area for the Sorensen’s framed home. The last person to live in the log home was Peter’s daughter, Hannah (Ann), who moved out in 1964. In 1992 the home was dismantled and the logs were stored. In 2013 the original logs were carefully assembled in their correct order on the present location.
Three of the original logs had to be replaced, and a new roof was built to replace the earlier that had been altered over the years.
(Taken from: James Gray Willie, Man of Faith and Devotion By Glenna King Austin September 1997) James was born on November 1, 1814, at Murrell-Green, Southampton, Hampshire, England, to good parents who were industrious and had financial means. James was the seventh of eight children in the family; one older brother and one younger brother died in their youth. He lived in Taunton, Somersetshire with his parents, Mary and William, four sisters (Mary, Amy, Elizabeth, and Amelia), and a brother (John).
On June 1, 1836, when he was 21 years old he set sail for America, the land of adventure and opportunity. In New York City he found employment in the tanning business.
Five years later in December 1841 he was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized a month later in January 1842 by Charles Wandell.
While living in New York City, James met a lovely young lady, Elizabeth Ann Pettit. She was born on December 3, 1818, in New Rochelle, New York, the daughter of Mary and William Pettit. James and Elizabeth were married in New York on June 13, 1846 by Samuel Brannan.
James and Elizabeth started across the plains on June 17, 1847, in Jedediah M. Grant’s company.
In a special conference of the Elders held at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on August 28-29, 1852, James was called and set apart for a mission to England. During his four-year mission, James kept a daily diary. He was diligent in making daily entries of his travels, meetings, association with the saints and presiding brethren, events, sightseeing, correspondences, health, feelings, and where he obtained food and lodging.
James was released as a pastor (Presiding Elder) of the Southampton and Dorsetshire Conferences February 1, 1856. When James was released from his mission, he was appointed president of the 764 saints bound for Zion on the ship Thornton. They left England on May 4, 1856, and arrived at New York on June 14, 1856.
The Saints proceeded by train to Iowa City, arriving there on June 26. In Iowa City, James was appointed captain of the fourth handcart company, consisting of 500 saints from the ship Thornton, 120 handcarts, 5 wagons, 24 oxen, and 45 beef cattle and cows. From James’ account, “On the 12th [of July] President [Daniel] Spencer appointed me as captain over the Fourth Handcart Company, consisting of the passengers of the ship Thornton, with Elders Millen Atwood, Levi Savage, William Woodward, John Chislett, and Johan A. Ahmanson respectively captains of hundreds.” An official account of their trek was recorded by camp clerks, one of which was William Woodward.
The Willie Handcart Company arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake Sunday, November 9, 1856.
James was ordained a bishop and set apart as the bishop of the Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City on December 27, 1856.
James served as bishop until the spring of 1859, when he and his family were called by Brigham Young to settle Cache Valley. James, his wife Elizabeth, and their four children settled in Mendon, on the west side of Cache Valley.
James served faithfully for many years in various calling in the community in Mendon, and on the 9th of September 1895, the earthly mission of James Grey Willie came to it’s conclusion. He died as he had lived a faithful Latter-day Saint.
James G. Willie is buried in the Mendon, Utah Cemetery.