Early Settlement of Hyde Park, 1860
In April 1860, several families from Lehi, Utah County, and other places arrived in Cache Valley and decided to locate where Hyde Park is now situated.
The first families who arrived on the spot and remained were those of Robert Daines, William Hyde, Armenus Neely and Anthony Metcalf. Robert Daines was accompanied by his wife’s cousins, Elijah and George Seamons, making six men in the party. They were the first actual laborers in the settlement.
A cold spring of water now at the west end of Hyde Park and flowing under the present paved highway, became the central place for the camp. William Hyde set the stakes for the settlement and then left to make preparations to move his family and belongings to the new settlement in Cache Valley. The land was unsurveyed and covered with bunch grass. The settlers selected their pieces of land and began to plow it, but it was very hard because of the tall wheat grass.
A few months later of the same year, the following settlers arrived at Hyde Park: Patterson Griffith, Michael Molen, Simpson M. Molen, James Mack, Henry Seamons, James Thurston, James Hancy, John Bloomfield and families.
July 1860, about sixteen families had located at the new settlement. Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Peter Maughan organized the ward and appointed William Hyde as bishop. The settlement was named Hyde Park in honor of Bishop Hyde. The people began to build their houses but until that time they had lived in their wagons and temporary dugouts. Some of the first meetings were held in the Metcalf dugout. The first houses were built on Center Street just west of the present Inter-Urban railroad station, mostly to the lower end to be near the spring. The houses were built close together in fort formation for mutual protection against any Indian raids. In 1861 and 1862, a military organization was effected to give better protection.
In 1860 the land was staked off as well as an irrigation canal from Summit Creek to the north a distance of three miles, and from the Logan River, a distance of five and one-half miles. The Logan-Hyde Park Canal was not available that season. The next season more settlers came and by the united effort of all the Logan-Hyde Park Canal was completed and the water was taken to the small farms and saved the crops of the people. Like the other settlements, this was great undertaking and accomplishment for the few settlers at Hyde Park. The canal was built with ox teams, plows, go-devils (wooden drags in a V shape) and much hand labor.
In 1861, Bishop William Hyde was sent as a delegate to the Provisional State Government of Deseret, or Utah Territory.
In 1863, a combination meeting and schoolhouse was built of logs and stood southwest of the present Inter-Urban Station. Later, the building was moved north and opposite the present store of C. C. Lee & Sons. Thomas Sleight was the first schoolteacher. Later, a substantial rock building was constructed for church services and an amusement hall. This building stands today and is the present ticket office for the Inter-Urban Railroad Company. It is still well preserved and is one of the few remaining rock buildings built in those early times.
In 1864, the city lots were surveyed and the settlers began to move from the places in the fort onto the city lots and improve them. Shade and fruit trees were planted. The same year, Bishop Hyde was called as a captain of a Salt Lake company to help bring emigrants from the Missouri River to Utah.
As the number of families increased and more land was taken and developed, more irrigation water at a higher elevation became necessary. The people took much interest in the proposed Logan-Richmond Canal to be constructed at the mouth of Logan Canyon, the water to come from Logan River. The location for the canal was surveyed in 1865. Those who worked on the canal were entitled to a portion of the land brought under cultivation through it. This inducement caused several new families to settle at Hyde Park.
Like the other settlers of the Valley, the people of Hyde Park were resourceful and began to build up home industries. A small shingle mill was constructed in the south part of the town. The waterpower came from the Logan-Richmond Canal. Thomas Hillyard of Smithfield and James Hancey built the mill. They had an upright saw and a wooden undershoot water wheel. John Balls was the sawyer. Later, Hyde Park bought a half interest in the mill. It was owned by William Giboson of Franklin. The saw and other portable equipment were moved back and forth from Franklin to Hyde Park for sawing. Later James Hancey bought the mill and a circular saw and a turbine water wheel was installed. James Hanky and George Parrot built a woodturning lathe and later James Hancey added a lathe for turning iron. It was used much in the repair of machinery. They built the water-wheel out of old cylinders of threshing machines. Mr. Hancey made considerable furniture, including cupboards chairs, beds, etc. and helped to fit out many married couples.
At first the people used the chaff-piler for threshing their grain, but later used the usual threshing machines.
In 1869, a co-operative store was organized with capital of $1000.00. Bishop William Hyde was President of the company. The goods for sale were purchased from the Z.C.M.I. in Salt Lake City.
The early domestic and social conditions appear in a special chapter, which applies, to all the early settlements of that time. Due to the rich soil and ample irrigation water and the industry of the people, Hyde Park has continued to grow and has perhaps the most wealth per capita of any of the farming communities of the Valley.