In 1854 Anson Call of Bountiful erected a Grist Mill on the south side of Deuel Creek, just southeast of this marker. The mill was a three-story building made from Centerville Canyon rock, with the machinery on the top floor. The people brought their grain to be ground into flour, and the miller kept a portion of it as his pay. The power to turn the grinding wheels was generated solely by water flowing down Deuel Creek, which was run into two holding ponds on the hillside above the mill and then piped to a water wheel which turned the drive shaft.
The larger pond also served as a baptismal font for many of the pioneers. In the winter, when the water was frozen solid, ice was cut into blocks and stored in sawdust for use in the spring and early summer.
The first miller of record was a Mr. Southworth, followed by Messrs. Symns, Winn, McKinney, and Miller. For 15 years the mill lay idle until 1890 when Alwood Brown took it over. He renovated it and installed new machinery.
After Alwood Brown left, the mill was run by several others, including Mr. Everett, Mr. Hancock, and finally by Jim Brown. At one time Mr. Everett ran a wholesale bakery in the basement and drove a bakery wagon all over Davis County. He also had an ice-cream parlor, and so on warm summer evenings the young couples of the town would stroll up here for refreshments – and a little spooning. The place was romantic.
The mill was last operated in about 1905. The lumber was removed in the 1930s and the building fell into decay. The walls were blown in by east winds and the structure became dangerous, so it was completely torn down in 1944.
Davis County purchased the site and constructed a storm water debris basin here following the flood of 1983.
The original one-and-one-half-story stone portion of this house was built c1862-66 by Charles Duncan, a skilled Scottish stonemason known for building rock structures throughout Centerville and Farmington, and Thomas Whitaker, who did the carpentry work. Thomas was born in England in 1816. He and Elizabeth Mills, born in England in 1839, were married in 1858 by Mormon leader Brigham Young. In 1869 Thomas married Hannah Waddups, in keeping with the Mormon polygamous practices of the time. She lived here for three years before Thomas built her a house two blocks east. They had eight children.
Thomas was a carpenter, cabinetmaker, engraver, carver, tenor singer, violin player, and nurseryman. He also spoke several languages. Thomas and Elizabeth are believed to have been one of the first families in Utah to raise silkworms. Elizabeth spun the silk and made scarfs, neckties, vests, and socks. She also had talents in gardening, cooking, rug making, straw hat making, nursing, and midwifery. She had twelve children. Thomas died at age 70 in 1886 and Elizabeth at age 98 in 1937. The home was purchased in 1994 by the city and now serves as the Centerville Museum and Cultural Center.
The original rock building, at approximately 150 North Main Street, was built in 1873 by James Baird. It was 20 by 25 feet with an 8-foot lean-to on the east. The building housed coal, scrap iron, and leather bellows. It was here that B.H. Roberts learned the black smithing trade from Mr. Baird.
Henry J. Rampton of Bountiful purchased the blacksmith shop and house in 1881. He built a frama addition which was used as a woodworking and wheel shop. The main building was used for horse shoeing and forge work. At Rampton’s death in 1927, the tools were sold and removed from the lot, and the building was razed a short time later.
The first school house in Centerville was a little one-room log building, situated on this site. John S. Gleason taught school here during the winter of 1851 and 1852. Several adobe schools were built in the village between 1855 and 1864. Later, a rock school in north Centerville and a red brick school in the town center were built.
In 1897, the Central School was built on the foundation of the original 1851 log school house. This brick building housed the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. The school faced east. Five or six wooden stairs led to the double doors at the northeast front corner, the only entrance to the building. A bell tower sat atop the entrance way. Inside the building was one large classroom. Teachers and principals who taught here include Ray C. Naylor, Eugene Decker, Davis F. Smith, John H. Tolman, and Thomas F. Howells.
When the Centerville Elementary School was completed in 1916, the Central School was abandoned. The Central School students joined the elementary students from the Red Brick School and the North Centerville School in the new Centerville Elementary School.
Centerville, also known as Deuel Creek and Cherry Creek in the early days, was first settled in 1848 by Thomas Grover and Osmyn and William Deuel. They, along with other early settlers of Centerville were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The first homes built in Centerville were made of logs dragged down from the steep mountains. These homes were held together by wooden pegs and rawhide thongs, because they did not have nails in those early days. Later, some homes were made of adobe (clay and straw dried in the sun). Other more substantial homes were constructed out of rock washed down from the hills or found in the stream beds.
Water for the new community was diverted from four mountain streams. These streams were named after some of the early settlers; Deuel, Parrish, Barnard and Ricks. In 1854, a grist mill was built on Deuel Creek.
In 1853, the residents of Centerville began constructing a fort to protect themselves from the Indians. The Indian threat lessened, so it was never completed.
In 1851, a log school house was built. In 1852, Sanford Porter was called as the first Bishop of the Centerville Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1855, William R. Smith became the second Bishop of the Centerville Ward. Bishop Smith served in that position until he was called in 1877 as the first Stake President of the Davis County area.
In 1866, William Reeves built a Stage Coach Station in Centerville. He later converted it into the Elkhorn Hall to be used as an amusement hall for dances and local dramatic performances. The Elkhorn Hall is still standing and is used today as a residence. The schoolhouse and hall were also used for religious gatherings until 1879 when a church building was constructed at 1st South and 2nd East.
Brigham H. Roberts, a pioneer and General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made his home in Centerville. Another Church leader Charles C. Rich, an Apostle, lived in Centerville for a short time.
The Bamberger Railroad line that ran between Ogden and Salt Lake served the residents of Centerville from 1894 to 1952. There was also a trolley line between Centerville and Salt Lake City from 1913 to 1926.
In 1915, a few local men of vision petitioned the county to incorporate the settlement into a town, so a culinary water system could be developed. This first water system was constructed of wire-wrapped, wood stave pipes that frequently sprang leaks. In 1936, the wood stave pipes were replaced by metal pipes.
Centerville became a city in 1956. Centerville has survived two disastrous floods- in 1923 and 1930 – that brought mud, rocks and debris down the steep canyons. The floods washed away homes and roads and inundated much of Centerville’s valuable farm land.
– Vestil Harrison, Centerville Historical Society
Centerville Pioneers honored by major contributions by their decendants or sponsors:
Centerville was populated by a mix of pioneers from widely scattered places and different cultures. These pioneers came together for a common cause and they generally discovered that the talents, skills and determination needed for survival were found amoung themselves. Many housewives carded wool and spun the wool on spinning wheels. Some had looms for weaving cloth from which they fashioned clothing, bedding, tablecloths and rag carpets. Gloves, mittens, stockings and shawls were also knitted. Dyes were made of different colors from various plants; soap was made using home-made lye; candles were made to furnish light for the home; and potatoes furnished the ingredient for making starch. The men made furniture and wooden cooking utensils such as wooden bowls, potato mashers and rolling pins. These items supplimented the few items of crockery, china, iron kettles, skillets and dutch ovens that some had brought across the plains. In essence, the families of this early settlement lived mainly by their own production and through the products they exchanged with their neighbors. Numerous small enterprises sprang up in Centerville, such as grocery and general merchandise stores, molasses mill, flour mill, saw mill, black smith shop and a cooperage. There were shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, cabinatemakers, wheelwrights, rock masons, tree nurseries, meat markets and even the raising of silk worms. Probably the most important early business of Centerville was the old Centerville Co-op that opened in 1869 at Main and Center Streets. When money was scarce, housewives traded eggs, butter and other home-produced items for store merchandise. The co-op finally closed in 1940. The streets were dark at night until the early 1920s when a few enterprising citizens installed lights at two street corners. They mounted a time-clock in a wooden box at the bottom of the pole and had a long string running from the clock at the bottom to a light switch at the top. The nearest home owners had the assignment of winding the clock so the street lights would go on at dusk and off in the morning. The groundwork for all the conveniences we enjoy today was laid by the early pioneers of Centerville, whose suffering, diligence and faith in the cause that brought them here has made this choice land we have inherited. We honor these noble pioneers! May the dedication of this monument to their faith, sacrifice and deeds inspire us to emulate them and revere their memory with profound gratitude. – Vestil Harrison, Centerville Historical Society
Osmond M. Deuel, one of the first settlers in Centerville in 1848, purchased and farmed 40 acres at this location. Osmond adopted Joseph E. Williams (1870-1947), whose parents died when he was eight years old. After the death of Osmond Deuel in 1889, Joseph purchased the farm from the Deuel family.
Joseph’s son, Thomas Q. Williams (1901-1991), and his sons, Thomas Junior, Richard, and Emery, continued to operate the farm for many years. In the early years, they raised vegetable crops. About 1940, they began a dairy operation, milking up to 100 head of cows. Along with the cows, they raised alfalfa and various grain crops. The farm was operated until 1985.
Judge Joseph C. Rich and his wife, Ann Eliza Hunter, moved to Centerville as they were finishing this house, just a few weeks prior to Joseph’s death in 1908. Ann lived here for a few more years with her youngest daughter before moving back to Idaho where she died in 1930. The Rich family continued to own the property, and several renters occupied the house until 1930 when it was sold to Herbert Rex and Rosetta (Etta) Smith Streeper.
Herb, born in Centercille in 1878, and Etta, born in Providence that same year, were married in 1902. He was a farmer and secretary of Barnard Creek Irrigation Company for many years. She was a member of the Sagamore Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. They had two daughters and four sons, deeded the house to their daughter Dorothy in 1941, nd lived here until their deaths in 1968 and 1954, respectively.
Dorothy Streeper taught English and was the student-body adviser at Davis High School (1937-61). She then became a counselor at two other high schools until retiring in 1971. She was also very active in sharing Centerville’s history and was one of the organizers of the Centerville Historical Society.
In 1891, a red brick, two-room school was built on the southwest corner of the block. The school served the families in the south end of Centerville. At first, grades one through eight were taught here. When the Central School was finished on Parrish Lane and Main Street, this school taught only the first give grades.
When the Centerville Elementary School was built in 1916, this school was no longer needed. It eventually was renamed “Soldiers Memorial Hall.” It became a social center for dances, movies, bazaaes, and local drama. About 1955, it was abandoned and razed.
The “Church Well” as it is known, stands on the corner of 200 South and 200 East in Centerville Utah. This well does not flow naturally so a pump system in housed in the building behind the well access. Controls for the pump system are accessible from the well access. Once the well is primed by the pump, and the pump is turned off, the well will flow for two or three minutes. The well is owned and operated by the LDS church, and stands on church property.