The settlement of Oak City was begun in late summer of 1868, when a few families moved there from the community of Deseret, Utah. They had become discouraged after eight years of unsuccessful attempts to dam the Sevier River to provide water for their crops, and had left the area. The early settlers were familiar with the Oak City area because they had pastured their cattle there in the spring and fall. They chose this area to settle because of the reliable creek and the quality of the land for farming. The town was settled in two phases. The first phase took place in July 1868 and consisted of a few families and young men to survey the town site, clear the land for farming, and provide shelter for the coming winter. Twenty-three more families came in October and November of that year.
The town of Leamington on the northern border of Millard County is situated in a small but fertile valley of the winding Sevier River. It is surrounded on the north, east, and south by the Wasatch range.
In 1871, a number of people from Oak City visited the present site of Leamington. Unlike other Utah settlements, these people were not sent to Leamington by Church authorities. However, Bishop Platt Lyman of Oak City did send John Lovell to Leamington to act as the presiding elder. The first permanent settlers in Leamington built their home in 1873.
Leamington was named after a town in England by Frank Young, a nephew of Brigham Young who was one of the early settlers in Leamington.(*)
Oak City was named after Oak Creek, a sparkling mountain stream meandering through scrub oak and gray sagebrush. It provided water, the life blood, of this community.
Founded in 1868 by pioneers who had formerly resided at Deseret, this location was chosen as a refuge from the Sevier River floods. Their animals formerly had been pastured on Oak Creek. The town site was surveyed into twenty-four blocks and was patterned after the original survey of Salt Lake City. Lots were drawn for the property. Families began the wagon trek bringing with them doors and windows from their homes in Deseret. Others completely dismantled their houses there and hauled the material to the new settlement and reassembled it on their newly acquired land.
The season was late, near November. Twenty-three families hauled logs from the canyon, dug dugouts, made adobes. Many of the houses were of one or two rooms and had dirt roofs and floors. With shovels they tapped the Oak Creek, digging ditches for irrigation water.
The first winter the men worked together and fenced 360 acres of land. The leading industries in those first days were agriculture and cattle raising. John Lovell was the first presiding elder, serving from 1868-1871. The first public meeting was held November 8, 1868.
We honor and appreciate the courage of these pioneers, their vision, faith, and fortitude to subdue this desert and harness the mountain stream.
1893 – 1993 This 300 pound bell was ordered in 1893 for the combination church, school and social hall. Before the belfry was competed, the bell hung on a frame on the front porch of the Niels Peter Nielson home. Niels rang the bell precisely one-half hour before all church meetings and before school. The bell became a loving call to services and the authority on time. When a belfry was added to the school building in 1898, the bell was hung in its appropriate place. From 1915-1928 the bell was placed on top of the new school. It was then rehung in the original belfry. It remained there until it was placed in the tower of the new church in 1969. Stones from the original building are used in this monument reuniting the bell and belfry in 1993. The belfry was given back to Oak City by Don and Colleen Parker.