Ashley Valley, settled in 1873, had its first postoffice in this structure. Built in 1879 by Wilbur C. Britt, the first postmaster. Logs hauled from nearby forests were put together with wooden pegs and square nails to erect one large room. A partition separated the postoffice from a store. Once a week carriers, riding horseback or wearing snowshoes, delivered the mail to and from Greenriver, Wyo. Mail service here was discontinued in 1899. This building now belongs to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #313, located at 1333 West 2000 North in Vernal, Utah
The Ashley Post Office was established in the center of Ashley Town on December 27,1878. At that time there were about 300 settlers in Ashley Valley. Wilbur Carlton Britt and Finley Britt used logs from nearby mountains, wooden pegs, and square nails in constructing this building. It had a dirt roof and wide board floors. The cracks between the logs which were filled with mud. A log partition separated the post office from a grocery store. Wilbur Britt was appointed first postmaster on April 16, 1879. The Ashley Post Office is also on the Utah Register of Historic Places.
Interior of Old Post Office In the southwest corner of the post office was a pot-bellied stove with places all around to sit and visit. These visits were mostly of a social nature, but from these visits the pioneers also acquired knowledge and news from the outside world. At about the time the post office was built there were around 300 settlers in the valley.
When gold was discovered in Jordan Creek in 1863, people from all over the world came to seek their fortune. Many came from the East along the Mormon Trail, branching off to follow the stage and freight trail from Kelton, Utah, to Idaho, then remaining on the “Dry Trail” south of the Snake River. Nestled in the War Eagle and Florida Mountains, the mining camp of Ruby City grew to become a roaring settlement and the Owyhee County seat. It was named for the red color of the silver ore compounds found there.
Only half a mile away, Silver City became a booming mining town. It was located on the high slopes of War Eagle, at the head of Jordan Creek, and almost atop the fortune the mountain held. Within one year, the county seat was moved to Silver City, as well as many of the buildings and homes. This settlement grew to have six general stores, two hotels, a school, four restaurants, and numerous other businesses. Everything had to be hauled in by wagon teams over the rugged mountainous terrain. Settlers began to make their homes on many of the creeks. Indians roamed freely in the area, and fought fiercely to protect this great land against the white settlers.
Desiring to farm and ranch, settlers came in the spring of 1869 to Bruneau, named for a Canadian fur trapper, Pierre Bruneau, who came to Idaho in 1815. Many places in the area bear his name. Salmon came up the Bruneau River by the thousands, and herds of antelope and deer roamed freely in the vast countryside. To cattleman and sheepman alike, this areas became known as the Valley of the Tall Grass. In 1884, the first public building in Bruneau was erected by the Hughes Brothers, Frank and Jim, and served as a saloon, store, and post office.
Grand View was so named because of its big beautiful green valley with the Snake River winding through the middle. On either side lay lush desert as flat as a table top with sage as tall as a man. At one time there were 100,000 cattle in the valley. Sheepmen soon followed with vast herds, which fed in the belly-deep grasses. Hundreds of tons of hay and many kinds of fruit and nuts were harvested and sold in the area. The Dorsey Ranch was about two miles to the east. Although the ranch changed hands many times, its name remained the same. The ranch became a favorite ferry route and stopping place for early settlers going back and forth to Boise for supplies. Grand View had a large hotel and store (destroyed by fire) as well as many other businesses and homes. Some still stand today. The first post office was opened in 1888.
Farther to the west is Oreana, a settlement named by Harry Olsen when he opened a hotel in 1884. Oreana, meaning an unbranded yearling, was known nationwide for its many tons of hay and large productive orchards. The settlement had a general store, post office, blacksmith shop, school, and church.
In 1899, Murphy, a settlement near the majestic Owyhee Mountains, became the terminal when the railroad finished its plans to run the track to Silver City. Later, with the slowing of the mining operations at Silver City, and Ruby City and for easier accessibility, the Owyhee County seat was moved to Murphy where it remains today.
The first L.D.S. church in Canyon County was purchased in 1910 from St. Paul’s Congregation for $1000, and dragged with great difficulty through the mud from 1st St. and 14th Ave. S. to this site. It was remodeled, painted, and made ready for use as a chapel and recreation hall for the Nampa Branch of the N.W. States mission and served the Saints of Canyon County until 1938. L.C. Pond was the presiding elder, Eugene Kimball, W.A. Wilcox and others made the benches and pulpit.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #139 located at 504 11th Ave N in Nampa, Idaho
In 1810-18 Francois Payette, Donald McKenzie, John Day, Jack Weiser, a Mr. Whitman and others, named this valley and river “Payette.” In 1862 David Bivens’ stage station was erected and Nathan Falk’s store was opened in 1876. William E. Smythe, of the National Irrigation Congress, sent a group to late a townsite with a view to opening an irrigation project. In April 1895 New Plymouth was chosen. A postoffice was established 1896, Veasey and Jennie Stovel in charge.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #352 located at Kiwanis Park at 150 W Ash Street in New Plymouth, Idaho
La Grande was founded in 1861. On this site the first chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was erected. (1901) it was a frame building 34 x 60 ft. costing $2,100. A brick tabernacle was built in 1907 and the chapel became a recreational hall. Later the church was moved to Fir Street near Y Avenue, renovated and again used as a chapel. In 1929 a new recreational hall was built. The first church became the welfare center of Union Stake. It is a refuge for the hungry and a symbol of thrift for the wise.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #252, located at the southeast corner of N Avenue and Fourth Street in La Grande, Oregon.
In 1869 Heleman Pratt, Wm. D. Kartchner and other L.D.S. church members came to Overton; built adobe homes; planted vineyards and crops. In 1871 double taxation forced an exodus from Muddy Valley. Local investors acquired the land, resold to returning pioneers 1880. John Munson, Overton Presiding Elder. Martha Cox taught school under trees until schoolhouse was finished. Jessie W. Crosby, Postmaster 1883. Isaiah Cox Sr., Ward Bishop 1884. This building first Moapa Stake House.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #385 located at the old hospital at 159 W Virginia in Overton, Nevada.
Military reserve was located one half mile west and one mile north of this marker and named in honor of Major J. N. Thornburgh who was killed in the Meeker Massacre in 1879. During the summer of 1881 the military troops were established in Ashley Canyon for protection against Indians. Moving to Fort Thornburgh in December, 1881. The fort was abandoned in 1884 and part of the supplies taken to Fort Bridger. In 1886 Fort Duchesne was established about ten miles south of the Whiterocks Indian School.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #72 located at 1063 North 2500 West in Vernal, Utah.
In 1882 the first settlers came to Teasdale, formerly called Bullberry. In 1885 land was purchased by the L.D.S. Church for $9.99 upon which they built the first public building in the settlement. George Coleman was the first presiding elder and later bishop. A building 20 feet by 30 feet was constructed of sawed logs and a large fire place was built in the west end. The cost of the building was $323.86 contributed in cash, labor, and grain. David C. Adams, Daniel Allen, and Sylvester Williams were the building committee. For many years it served the community for church, recreation and school purposes.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #185, erected in May of 1953 at 106 South Main Street in Teasdale, Utah.
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln established by proclamation the Uintah Indian Agency, Brigham Young held the office of Supt. Indian Affairs. Lieut. Pardon Dodds, Civil War veteran, came to Utah Sept. 7, 1866 and in 1867 was appointed first Indian Agent for the Uintah Basin by President Andrew Johnson. After posting a $20,000 bond, he arrived at Whiterocks Christmas day and served until 1873 when he came to Ashley Valley as a stockman with Evans and Huffaker, east of this monument they erected the first log cabin built by white men in Uintah Basin, it served as a home for the Dodds family until 1897.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #283 located at 2424 North 1500 West in Vernal, Utah. It was erected in 1963.
Utah Lake was welcoming to Indians, trappers, explorers, and Mormon pioneers. Its shorelines, tributaries, and surrounding land provided sustenance and shelter for both animals and peoples. The lake played a significant role in the settlement of Utah Valley and survival of both pioneers and Native Americans. Its history is fraught with plaques, draught, famine, crickets, and grasshoppers.
Provo pioneers shared fish seined from the lake with Indian tribes during the lean years. Long seines, weighted vertical fishing nets, were the only method for harvesting large quantities of fish. The average catch was about 150 pounds daily in the summer and about 30-40 pounds during the winter months. The Honorable John Henry Smith maintained that the story of Terrane fisherman, Peter Madsen, who provided food for the famished during 1855-56, was quite as worthy of historical recognition as the story of the “Gulls” and “Lillies.” Provo’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop assigned men to fishing crews to operate Madsen’s seine twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But, even then, there was a long wait for fish. Fires burned constantly along the mouth of the river to furnish warmth and dry fisherman’s clothing. The men worked even in ice cold water, wearing what clothes they had, which were minimal, just to save their meager supply of clothing. No charge was made for the fish. The hungry came from Sanpete on the south, Salt Lake on the north, and Duchesne on the east, each camping along the river, awaiting their turn to receive fish to be cleaned, salted down in barrels or dried Indian fashion.
The thirteen species of fish outnumbered people in Utah Valley in 1851; the census listed the population as 1,505. As more settlers arrived without provisions, the demand for fish grew. Loyal Church members were tithed by the number of fish they harvested, providing sustenance for laborers on public works projects.
The boats and equipment used by the pioneer fishermen were very crude but safe and practical for their time. No lives were lost during this period of trial and need, despite the fact that Utah Lake, with its great area of nearly 150 square miles and its extremely shallow depth, was really a treacherous and vicious body of water. Many lives have been lost since the days of pioneer fisherman.
Peter Madsen’s descendants continue to fish the lake, as do other notable families including the Loys, Carpenters, and others. Some of the original species of fish have disappeared, while others remain on the endangered species list. Our sacred duty is to preserve the lake, fish, and its history.