East from Moab, on Wilson Mesa in the La Sal Mountains, was the little village called Mesa. The Town of Pinhook, also in the La Sal Mountains, was a tent village. On June 15, 1881 a bloody battle was fought between the village and a hostile band of Indians. Eight white men were buried at the site in 1 large grave. A historical marker has been erected on this spot.
Wilson Mesa, also known as simply Mesa, was located on the western slope of the La Sal Mountains. It actually consisted of two mesas, North Mesa and South Mesa, which were separated by a small canyon called Left Hand. These mesas, which still contain ranches, are accessible from the present-day La Sal Mountain Loop Road. Wilson Mesa was first settled by Joseph Burkholder and Herbert Day in 1891. Other early settlers included the Shafers, the Johnsons, the Diffendorfs, and the Fillmores. Wilson Mesa took its name from cattleman A.G. Wilson, who grazed about 500 cattle in Spanish Valley, the Sand Flats, and on the mesa itself. A post office existed in Mesa from 1907 to 1923. One notable accomplishment by Mesa settlers was the construction of an impressive tramway to lower 1,200 pounds of produce at a time from South Mesa to the Mill Creek area some 2,000 vertical feet below. The Murphy brothers built the tram around 1916. Supplies could also be hoisted up the tramway, provided that the down-going load was heavier.
In memory of those who were massacred by Indians June 15, 1881, buried here
- L.E. Wilson
- A.R. Wilson
- H. Tarter
- W. Tarter
- J. Heaton
- G. Taylor
- T. Glick
- J. Galloway
Erected 1940 by Grand Co.(*)
History on the Pinhook Draw Fight: http://digitallibrary.utah.gov/awweb/awarchive?type=file&item=34837
The Pinhook Battleground Site on the Manti-La Sal National Forest encompasses an 80-acre area and features a 20-foot square plot, which is the location of the common grave of eight men who were killed in the Pinhook confrontation. The Pinhook Battle, one of the largest and bloodiest battles between Anglo Americans and American Indians to occur in southeastern Utah, took place in 1881. The fight resulted in the death of eight Colorado posse members, two Moab cattlemen, and an unknown number of American Indians. The dispute was fueled by competition over the land and resources of southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. The National Register nomination and early commemoration efforts of the site were udnertaken by the Moab Lions Club.