West of Meadow, southwest of Fillmore, the Meadow Hot Springs are a popular stop that will almost always have people relaxing in the hot water. It is technically private property but as long as we all have some respect we should be able to enjoy it since the owners have been great about sharing this gem.
Chief Walkara(Chief Walker, Wakarum) 1810 ca. – – – – January 29, 1855
Walkara, Ute Indian chieftan, was one of the principal Indian chiefs when the Mormons first entered this area in 1848. Feared from California to New Mexico, he was a remarkably sly chief, daring horse thief, savage slave trader, furious enemy, admirable friend, and unprincipaled lover. He became a war chief unrivaled in his ability to lead his band with cunning, power and fierceness.
His name refers to yellow buckskin. Nicknamed the “Hawk of the Mountains” and “Napoleon of the Desert” he was an opportunist in the changing of the west. He was more notorious than great, more bandit than chief. Without question, white and Indian alike, he was the West’s greatest horse thief, stealing over 1000 horses on one raid alone. His horse stealing adventures are legendary.
The ill-fated “Walker War” began in July 1853 and lasted until May 1854. Every Mormon settlement was transformed into an armed fort. The final cost was upward of $200,000 and many lives. Peace was concluded after a mile-long peace train under Brigham Young met the aging warrior on Chicken Creek (Levan).
Born on the banks of the Pequinarynoquint (Stinking) River in Utah County, Walkara was buried in a seplechre of stone on the rugged eastern hillside above this little community of Meadow. His grave was located up Dry Canyon, the first canyon north of Corn Creek. On the day of burial two of his squaws and some Paiute children were offered up as sacrifice. Besides his weapons, trinkets, presents, the two squaws and two girls, a young boy was fastened alive to the pedestal beside Walkara’s body. It is presumed the grave was robbed by whites in 1909. It is interesting that another famous chief and brother, Kanosh was buried just a short distance from here.
Plaque presented by Millard Jr. and Sr. High School 1973
The first settlers, James and Janet Duncan with four other families came in 1857, lived in dugouts on the ridge one mile west. In 1859 a culinary water problem caused them to move east where ten families began the settlement of Meadow, so named for its productive meadowland. In 1863 Wm. Henry Scott was appointed presiding elder of the branch. The ward was organized 1877 with Hyrum B. Bennett, Bishop. This Church, built in 1884, also served for school and public gatherings, as did the first log schoolhouse of Meadow.
The settlement was originally called Meadow Creek after the adjacent creek. Chief Walker and his people often used the area for a campground.
Flowell is a small farming village in the Pavant Valley, about 6 miles west of Fillmore. The town of Meadow is about 8 miles south, across I-15. Utah State Route 100 connects Flowell with Fillmore to the east, and with U.S. Route 50 to the north. Just west of Flowell is the Ice Springs Volcanic Field, a volcanic field that was active less than 1,000 years ago.
In July 1915, Brigham Tomkinson drilled the first successful artesian well west of Fillmore, turning worthless desert into rich farmland and setting off a wave of well drilling in eastern Millard County. The center of this activity was first named Crystal, then Flowell after the freely-flowing wells. A school was built in 1919, and a post office in 1922. In the 1930s, Flowell built a community recreation hall with federal assistance from the Works Progress Administration.
These stones, quarried in Chalk Creek and hauled by oxen in 1854, were used in the foundation of the two-storied 30 x 40 adobe church building located in the Pioneer Fort one half block east of Main Street. Remodeled into one 30 x 60 hall with oval ceiling, it was used for church and school until 1900, when it became the Relief Society home for nine years. It then served many different purposes. Sold to Roy and Mary A. Dame in 1915, whose family financed this monument and steps.
Fillmore was settled in 1851. Before the close of the first year the Pioneers had erected a log school room inside the fort. It had split logs for seats, a dirt roof and floor. In 1854 an adobe church was built which also served as school. In 1867 three small school buildings were erected. This is one of them. It was the first building financed by the taxpayers. Contractors, Dellie Webb & Ova Peterson, Builders: Horace & James Owens, Nat Baldwin, Lewis Tarbuck, John Ashman, James & Ralph Rowley, Hans & Christian Hanson, & John Powell.
Check out all of the historic markers placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers at JacobBarlow. com/dup
Holden is seven miles north of Fillmore near the junction of I-15 and US-50. It was first settled in 1855 and named Cedar Springs for the springs in the cedar that the community was built around. The town then assumed the name Buttermilk Fork because travelers passing through were encouraged to stop for a glass of cold buttermilk while they rested. Elijah E. Holden was an early settler and an honored member of the Mormon Battalion. He froze to death in the nearby mountains and it was decided to name the community in his honor. It was incorporated in 1923.(*)
Until 1851 Mormon Settlement in Utah was confined mostly to the western slopes of the Wasatch Mountains. When Utah became a territory through the Organic Act of 1850 settlement patterns began to change. Since the new boundaries of the territory enclosed a smaller land area than expansive Mormon hopes had included in the proposed state of Deseret, LDS leaders anticipated settlement of the entire territory.
Planning for the eventual settlement of Utah, the Legislative Assembly decided to locate the territorial capital at the geographic center of Utah. Pauvan Valley was chosen because of its location midway between the Sierra and Colorado Rockies and in the center of Utah. On October 4, 1851, the remote Pauvan Valley was designated as the site of the territorial seat of government. On the same day, the Assembly named the surrounding area Millard County and planned to create a capital city called Fillmore. A committee of four men was appointed to survey the area and determine the exact location of the city and the capitol building site.
The party, led by Orson Pratt, left Salt Lake City for Pauvan Valley on October 21, 1851. When they arrived at the uninhabited region, Jesse W. Fox laid out the boundaries for the capital city. Streets were outlined for future construction. The site of the territorial capital was located. Orson Pratt later wrote a letter to Brigham Young describing the city boundaries as square blocks of ten acres. The letter noted that a law was established that no trees were to be cut in the city or for two miles out.
Anson Call and a company of several families arrived in Fillmore at the same time as the Pratt party. The group had been asked by church leaders to settle the area. Before he left for Salt Lake City, Pratt instructed Call to construct the city as it had been outlined. Streets, houses, public buildings, and, most important, the territorial capitol had to be built. During the next year the Fillmore settlers worked to create a city out of a wasteland. The immediate need of building homes and public buildings took up most of the time and energy of the workmen. Because of this, construction of the capitol was delayed until the following spring.
In 1854, three years after the selection of the site, the walls of the capitol were finally completed. But construction was further delayed because of a shortage of funds. Though Congress had awarded the territory $20,000 to begin the project, no further funds were given to continue construction. After months of hard work and limited supplies, local workmen finally completed the roof on the east wing of the capitol in the summer of 1855. The interior was rushed to completion in preparation for the Utah Territorial Legislature to convene in Fillmore. On December 10 the fifth annual legislative session was held in the new territorial capitol–the only complete session held there. Tradition says that the next day Brigham Young officially dedicated the building.
The legislature convened in Fillmore again in December 1856, after organizing, the assembly returned to Salt Lake City to complete its session. Legislators complained about the lack of housing and adequate facilities in Fillmore. Rather than being the thriving capital city that many had imagined, Fillmore remained a small rural community with little outside communication or industrial development. Realizing that Utah’s population had not centralized as anticipated, the territorial leaders quickly lost interest in Fillmore. In December 1856 Salt Lake City was officially designated as the capital of territorial Utah. Until the completion of the State Capitol in 1916, the legislature met in five different buildings in the city–the Council House, Social Hall, old Salt Lake City Hall, Salt Lake City and County Building and the Women’s Industrial Christian Home.
Meanwhile, the completed east wing of the Fillmore capitol building took on many different functions. In 1872 title to the building was passed to Fillmore City. It was used on different occasions as a jail, school, church, meeting house, and office building by local residents of Fillmore. Today, the site has been converted into a state park and museum of pioneer relics.
Although Fillmore never became the capital city envisioned by early Mormon leaders, the uncompleted capitol is a reminder of an era in which the settlement of Utah was new and its patterns undetermined.(*)
Fillmore Pioneer Fort This marks the Southwest corner of the Fort, built in October and November 1851 as protection from the Indians, by first 17 families under direction of Anson Call, Jesse W. Fox, surveyor. About 2 city blocks in size, the front wall 8 to 10 feet high was built of cobblestones, other walls of mud, straw and rocks. The East wall followed the foot hills in circular form. Fort walls were used as back walls of homes. Mail station, Church, School, recreation grounds, gardens, and corral were within and Chalk Creek ran through the Fort.
Check out all of the historic markers placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers at JacobBarlow.com/dup
Utah’s First Capitol Creating Fillmore City and Millard County the Territorial Legislature of Utah selected Pahvant Valley, as Capitol site October 29, 1851. This spot was selected by Governor Brigham Young. Construction work began in 1852. Truman O. Angell, architect and Anson Call, supervisor. This south wing was used by the fifth Territorial Legislature October 10, 1855. In 1856 the seat of Government was moved to Salt Lake City. Later used as Court House and County Headquarters. Restored in 1928 and dedicated as State Museum July 24, 1930. Custodians; Daughters of Utah Pioneers Millard County Company