An Early History of Cache County…

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Compiled by M. R. Hovey, Secretary, Logan Chamber of Commerce. January 1, 1923 to January 1, 1925. Also as printed in the Logan Journal, beginning August 4, 1923.

Mendon Utah Logo

Paradise, Spring of 1860

A small group of men from Draper, consisting of J. G. Crapo, Alvin Monteith, William Smith and Barnard White, decided to look for another home-site where the opportunities were better. The possibilities of Cache Valley were being talked of a good deal at this time and many new settlers were planning to settle there. This group became interested and decided to come to Cache Valley and look it over. They arrived in the Valley in April 1860 and went to the southern most part where no one had settled.

Irrigation water always being as essential as the land on which to put it, the little cove where Avon is now situated appeared very attractive and had a number of natural advantages over the other settlements. It was at the forks of East Creek and Little Bear River, so that plenty of water was available. The party was satisfied and immediately returned to Draper for their families. They interested David James at Salt Lake City and other friends who came later.

The little colony returned soon to Cache Valley and located where Anon is now situated and commenced to build their log houses, break up the land and put in their crops. The utmost vigilance was necessary to protect themselves and their property from the Indians. The location for the settlement had its disadvantages as it was so far away from the larger settlements in the Valley and was one of the chief camping grounds of the Indians on their way to the south and east. It was right at the forks of the Indian trail through East Canyon that connected with points in Wyoming and with the trail to Ogden, Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah. Chief Washakie and his tribe, as well as other tribes, must have traveled a good deal in and out of the Valley over these routes. Therefore, the site served as a junction and was a suitable camping place for the Indians. The fishing and hunting were exceptionally good as several canyons with streams of water were so near at hand. Because of these conditions the place was not the best for a settlement at this time.

The settlers built their log houses and some dugouts in the usual fort formation, a short distance from the present meeting house in Avon. Every precaution was taken to protect themselves against the many Indians who camped in the river bottoms near by and were on their tours in and out of the Valley. Guards were stationed at all times just outside the fort to give warning when necessary. The regular public corral with its strong, high pole fence, was built and the cattle and horses were kept in it for protection.

An old trapper by the name of Post, but more often called “Stump” had build a log cabin just south of the fort in the river bottoms before the first settlers arrived. He fished and trapped a great deal along the streams but was not a member of the colony. He lived by himself. The Indians attacked the trapper and killed him and burned his cabin. The settlers found the charred bones and buried them. This act naturally excited the people and caused them to be more cautious than ever. The guards were maintained night and day at the fort, and the men always went in groups, well armed, to the field to put in and look after their crops and in the canyons for logs and wood.

During the summer several families arrived, among whom were David James and family of Salt Lake City. The settlement at that time was in Box Elder County and was not settled under the Cache Valley organization. But there was a natural barrier, being a range of mountains between the settlement and Brigham City, it was thought best to organize under the Cache Valley authorities. Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Bishop Peter Maughan were therefore asked to organize the settlement which they did in February, 1861. Mr. David James was chosen as bishop. Apostle Benson previously was so impressed with the beautiful little cove with its surrounding hillsides covered with timber and the fine meadow lands in the river bottoms and with the magnificent view of the valley to the north, that he exclaimed, “This is like a paradise.” He suggested the name for the settlement and it was unanimously adopted.

At the next session of the Territorial Legislature, the county lines were changed and Paradise was brought into Cache County. Others who arrived in 1860 were:

Paradise Settlers of 1860
William Woodhead Jerome Remington Leonard Crapo
James Lofthouse Winslow Farr Edward Davenport
Enoch Rawlins James Bishop John Sperry
Elijah Tames Albert Crapo Charles Rawlins

Enoch Rawlins, Jr., also arrived and was the first child born in the settlement.

As usual, the first meetings were held in the log houses of the settlers until a small combination meeting and schoolhouse, built of logs, was constructed.

Being some distance from the other settlements, flour and other articles at times were difficult to obtain. On one occasion, some of the settlers were compelled to eat pig weeds, cooked wheat and milk for six weeks.

In 1861, J. G. Crapo and H. C. Jackson built a small sawmill near the fort on the East Creek, and here the first timber was sawed with an upright saw. A little later this mill-site was converted into a gristmill and the sawmill moved farther up the creek, where a considerable logging business was done. The flourmill was finally moved to Hyrum by a Mr. McMurdie.

Others who arrived at Paradise and should be considered as the early settlers and who had lots in the old fort are as follows:

Other Paradise Settlers in the Fort
Daddy Gibson H. C. Jackson James D. Hirst Samuel Holbrook
Jonathan Nelson H. Edward Pope Alex Lemmon Gus Dreamer
J. Williams John Covington John Lemmon John P. Wright
Alonzo Debell Nephi Clayton William Bishop John F. Wright
Robert Stewart Edward Miles Edward Price David Philips
Daddy Pearce Dad Van Luven Miller Hansen William James
William Thomas David Merrill George D. Gibbs Richard Howells
John Davis Alonzo Merrill John H. Gibbs John Oldham
John Humphreys John Merrill John Gibson Samauel Oldham
William Humphreys Porter Merrill Henry H. Shaw Robert Pearce
and Nick Wilson

John P. Wright and his son, John F. Wright, moved from Logan to Paradise in 1862 and took a prominent and leading part in helping to build up the first, as well as the second settlements of Paradise. They were among the first who helped to settle Logan in 1859.

Due to the Black Hawk War in southern Utah in 1867-1868 and as the Indians appeared to be becoming somewhat hostile in northern Utah and Idaho, it was deemed advisable by the Cache Valley authorities to give greater protection to the outlying settlements such as Franklin, and especially Paradise. As previously mentioned, Paradise was well located for Indian attacks and depredations, so Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Peter Maughan held a meting with the settlers and advised them to move their settlement three miles north where the present settlement of Paradise is now situated. Here the country was more open and the settlers could protect themselves better. It was decided to make the move, so early in the spring of 1868 all the houses and equipment were moved to the new location. County Surveyor James H. Martineau had laid off the townsite and it was prepared for settlement. Ten and twenty acre plats of land were also laid off. The settlers each received the same amount of land and lots as they owned at the old location. Bishop David James gave out the lots and land to the people and they commenced at once to build their log houses on their city lots and break up the land and put in their crops.

It was a considerable sacrifice for the settlers to commence a new settlement so soon, under the conditions, but in the end it proved the best thing to do as there was more land available and a larger settlement could be made. A canal was taken out of East Creek at the old location and extended to the new site, and furnished irrigation water for the new farms. This was a difficult task but the ditch was completed in due time for the crops. A few of the settlers still held onto their farms at the old location but they lived in the new Paradise.

A small group of people form Wellsville had previously settled in the fields just west of the new Paradise or the present home of John Thomas, and it was called Petersburg; but these people were induced to move to the new location and not start another settlement in such close proximity. Among these were Thomas Obray, Samuel Obray, William Thomas and Samuel McMurdie. Being somewhat isolated, the settlers were compelled to co-operate to the fullest extent and it meant much to them in every way. A Co-op store, a branch institution, was organized in 1871 by Bishop David James at a capital of $450.00, in $5.00 shares. All who could purchased stock and became interested in the business. It had a rapid growth and paid several good dividends to the shareholders. A new store building and granary were built and it was the leading business institution in the settlement for years.

The log building for the meeting and schoolhouse was located just east of the store building and Henry Shaw was the first schoolteacher. He was also the first teacher at the old Paradise location. This became the center of all the social and public activities. Later a very substantial rock building was erected for a meeting house, on the public square. It is well preserved and stands today as a landmark of that period. A dramatic company was formed with John P. Wright as the leader, and Mrs. Monteith, Henry G. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. William Humphries, Bishop David James, James Bishop and others, taking part. “Stranger,” “Rent Day” and other old plays were presented and with the dances were all took part, furnished delightful entertainment for the people during the long winter months.

Most of the families raised a little sugar cane and had a few sheep. The cane was taken to Hyrum and made into molasses at the Haight or the Anderson Mills, while the wool was taken to Wellsville to be carded.

Samuel Haight built a small shingle and lath mill in the north part of the settlement and this, with the sawmill previously built in East Canyon by Crapo and Jackson and being so near the timber sections in the canyons, created quite a lumber business for Paradise.

Bishop David James proved to be very tactful and careful in dealing with the many Indians who journeyed past and camped near the settlement. He heeded strictly the advice of President Brigham Young, Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Peter Maughan, that it was far better to feed the Indians than to fight them. On several occasions, Chief Washakie called on Bishop James for beeves, flour and vegetables. Each time the old chief would point to all the land east of and where Paradise was located, and say that he would give it for the beeves, etc. Bishop James would call on the settlers and the supplies were furnished. Next time the chief called, he would again offer to sell the same land, and each time the Bishop would say that the chief had sold him the land before for the supplies. Washakie, in his wily way, always replied that he would sell it again to the bishop. Apparently the old chief did not know when the title to the land passed.

In 1873, Bishop James was called to Salt Lake City and Mr. H. C. Jackson was appointed to act as bishop for three years, at the end of which time Bishop James resigned and Mr. Orson Smith was chosen as the bishop. Mr. Smith served in this position until he was called as one of the Stake Presidency of the Cache Valley Stake. He was succeeded as bishop by Mr. Samuel Oldham, who acted in this capacity for years and did much for the upbuilding of Paradise. Mr. Oldham was a staunch believer in public schools and was a real force in the Valley in stimulating more interest in education and better methods.