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.

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College Ward, 1879

Upper College Ward was known at one time as part of west Millville. The families who lived in that part came to Millville for their schools, church services, socials, etc., until a ward was organized. At that time George O. Pitkin was Bishop of Millville. Among those early families were William Nuttall, James D. Nuttall, Joseph Campbell, John C. Dowdle, John Anderson, S. Perry and the Burris families. These families were homesteading. They built the first houses along and near the present highway which extends west of Nibley and connects with College Ward. This was in 1873-1874.

All of the College Ward area was good grazing land for stock from Mendon, Wellsville, Hyrum and Millville. In this part of the valley the L.D.S. church farm, or ranch, was located and established in 1855 by the ranchers who brought private and Church cattle to grase and winter here. John C. Dowdle, mentioned above, was one of those who helped to establish the church farm here. The main buildings for the church farm were built along the present highway, south of the Logan sugar factory to Nibley.

In 1877, President Brigham Young deeded 9,642.07 acres of land, which took in all of the present College and precinct and part of west Millville, Providence and some of Wellsville, as an endowment to establish and help maintain the Brigham Young College at Logan. Heretofore, these lands had been used by the general public for grazing. Farther west, along the bottoms of the Muddy River (Little Bear River), a certain amount of wild hay was allotted to each family in need. With these lands now set aside for an endowment to be leased, some people became interested and asked to lease the lands. The best land was leased for $2.00 per acre per year. At first the people did not make extensive improvements as they did not know whether they could finally purchase the land.

A number of families, who are considered the first real settlers in College Ward, signed the leases for certain tracts of land in December 1878. They plowed that fall so they would have the land ready for their crops the next spring. The first families who settled on these leased lands the next spring, 1879 were James Chantrill, C. C. Bindrup, J. A. Jensen and Lars Sorenson, and they began to build their houses. George Wood, T. R. Leavitt, S. F. Hall and the Wyatt brothers were already located in the field towards Wellsville. John, Julius and Michael Johnson, of Hyrum, also leased some of the land in the west portion. James Olsen, H. Hansen, C. Hansen, Peg Leg Hansen, J. N. Christensen, Joseph Peterson, William Biglow, N. Anderson, J. Nielson, G. P. Ward, William Williams, F. and A. Crabtree, and others came the next year and a little later.

Irrigation water was a very important factor in the growth and success of the settlement. Without the water, very scanty and sometimes no crops would be grown. One of the first things to be done was to secure ample irrigation water. In 1879 a good canal prospect was located near the junction of the Blacksmith Fork and Logan Rivers near the present Logan Sugar factory. A dam was placed in Blacksmith Fork River near the present plant of the Colorado By-Porducts Company.

It took a great deal of hard work with teams and much hard labor to dig the canal. Some rather large and long flumes had to be constructed. It was difficult to stop the leaks and get the flumes placed and braced properly. Some water was had from Logan River through a small ditch. This canal watered the land in the north part of the settlement but it was necessary to get water for the central and some of the south part of the settlement. The head of another canal was located near the bridge over Blacksmith Fork River in Nibley. It took much hard labor to dig this canal and get the water on the land. The settlers in the south part obtained irrigation water form the West Millville ditch. Later, flowing wells were dug and excellent water was had for culinary purposes. This was a great help to the settlers.

The number of families soon increased sufficiently to organize a branch of the L.D.S. Church. In 1882, Bishop William B. Preston of Logan, held (a meeting) in the C. C. Bindrup home. This home was a gathering place for the branch for a year or more. Bishop George O. Pitkin, of Millville, took charge of some of the meetings in the Bindrup home and Henry C. Chandler, of Millville, held meetings in relation to the school census and school matters.

The funeral of Anne Arrup, eighty-seven years of age, was also held in the Bindrup home. It was the first funeral held in the branch. Socials and dances were held here until the combination school and meeting house was built. The first school was conducted in the home of Thomas R. Leavitt. C. C. Shaw, of Hyrum, was the teacher. Mercy Baker, of Mendon, was also one of the first teachers.

In 1883, a combination school and meeting house was built of rough lumber and filled with sawdust. It was built east of the present highway, opposite the present meeting house. Later it was converted into a dwelling and owned by James D. Nuttal. Following is a list of some of the contributors to the house:

Contributors to the College Ward Meeting House
J. C. Dowdle $10.00 T. R. Leavitt $12.00 C. C. Bindrup $12.00
G. P. Ward $6.00 N. Sorenson $6.00 L. Sorenson $6.00
J. A. Jenson $10.00 N. P. Peterson $10.00 E. Jones $10.00
J. N. Christenson $5.00 C. Peterson $1.00 J. Chantrill $12.00
S. P. Hall $10.00 M. Hansen $2.27 Samuel Holt $10.00
G. Wood $12.00 J. Nelson $5.00 J. Olsen $5.00
Geo. O. Pitkin $3.50  

And Bishop William B. Preston gave $25.00 from the tithing fund, making a total of $171.27 in cash towards the building. With the labor contributed, this made the house possible.

In 1890, when Wilford Woodruff had become President of the L.D.S. Church, the policy in relation to the land in College Ward and this area under the college endowment, was changed. It was decided that the lands could be sold. This pleased the settlers very much and they proceeded to buy.

This made a decided difference in the growth and development of the settlement. The settlers began to make permanent improvements as quickly as possible.

By 1891 the settlement had grown sufficiently to warrant the organization of a ward. Orson Smith, Isaac Smith, Simpson Molen, of the Cache Stake, and Bishop George O. Pitkin and Martin Woolf, of the Millville Ward, attended a special meeting in the settlement. C. O. Dunn, of west Millville, (now Nibley) was installed as the first Bishop of the new ward.

Several names for the new ward were suggested, but it was finally decided to name the ward “College Ward.” It was organized as a precinct in 1892.

The new ward continued to grow and in 1897 a new brick building was constructed for the meeting house and other services.

Commercially, College Ward did most of its trading in Logan. However, in those early years it was visited regularly and frequently by the traveling peddler with a rather large assortment of merchandise.

Today College Ward has some of the best farming land in Cache Valley. The people are progressive and industrious and have well kept farms.