Mendon Ward Historical Record
The settlement of Mendon was commenced in the year 1857 at least so far as to take up and locate three farms of forty acres each the claimants of these farms were William Gardner, Alexander and Robert Hill; but very little was done by way of making improvements. A small portion of the land was broken up but no fencing or building was commenced this year with the exception of a small log cabin some twelve by fifteen feet in size. In the spring of 1858 all the inhabitants of Cache County moved south in connection with all the other settlements in northern Utah in order to avoid any difficulties that it was thought might arise from the entrance of a hostile army in our midst, sent to these valleys by order of President James Buchanan. The majority of the people from the northern settlements however returned in the fall of the same year and found on the land they had previously broken up and cultivated, a crop of volunteer wheat yielding some ten or eleven bushels to the acre. The few settlers who lived in Cache were very much troubled by the roving tribes of Indians who inhabited this Valley, then not being white settlers enough in the Valley to protect themselves and in order to be safe the few settlers in Mendon were called upon to move to Wellsville for the winter. Some five or six families settled in Mendon and the land close by was soon taken up, but it was not till the fall of the same year and the following spring that the greater part of the farming was taken up, on account of the threatened attacks of the Indians around us. The settlers in Mendon were again counseled to Wellsville, it not being considered safe to remain in Mendon over night which made it very difficult for the settlers to build up or make any permanent improvements on their new homes.
In the fall of the same year more settlers arrived and when the others returned from Wellsville it was considered there was settlers enough to protect themselves and the settlement of Mendon was accordingly organized. Although there was an organization of a temporary nature previous to this with Charles Shumway as bishop and James G. Willie and Alexander Hill as his two counselors. But in the fall as before stated the settlement was reorganized and Andrew P. Shumway was appointed bishop. There was now some ten or twelve log cabins in the settlement but as yet there was no floor in any of them, lumber being very scarce there being but very few saw mills in the country. Meetings were now held regularly in one or other of the log cabins where the appointments would be given. The winter was very severe, and clothing very scarce yet the people seemed to feel well and enjoy a good spirit and although the snow was three and four feet deep the settlers turned out and cut and hauled logs and lumber and put up the best meeting house in Cache Valley. The grain crop that year averaged from twenty to twenty-five bushels to the acre.
In the spring of 1860 there was considerable of land broken up and grain sown and as soon as the spring planting was over the whole of the settlers turned their attention to fencing their land into a large field so as to protect their grain from the cattle. More settlers kept coming and it became necessary to put a dam in what was called Gardner’s Creek situated some three miles south of Mendon; the work was commenced and in about four weeks the dam was finished but in a very short time it broke away to the great disappointment of some of the settlers who depended upon the water from this dam to irrigate their farms; but the whole force in the settlement turned out and labored faithfully, till the dam was rebuilt although it was too late to make a full crop of grain, nothing of importance transpired during the fall except a little trouble from Indians stealing horses. The winter was very severe but not so long as the one previous it passed off very agreeable the people living in peace with one another.
In the spring of 1861 one wagon and four yoke of oxen were called for to go to Florence after immigrants. Amenzo W. Baker went and returned with his full team in the fall. The crops were large this year but considerable smut was raised. This fall a herd was got up of stock from every settlement and sent out to the Promontory, Peter Larsen went as herdsman from Mendon. The winter passed by very agreeable although it was a very scarce time for clothing the people being very poorly provided but it was very rare that any grumbling could be heard.
The spring of 1862 was the latest known in Cache Valley. Feed for animals was very scarce and before the opening of spring, sheep and cattle had to be driven through very deep snow up to the mountains, the south sides being bare in order to get some feed to sustain them. It was late in the spring before we commenced to put in our crops. Two full teams was called for to go to Florence and Peter Larsen and Isaac Sorensen were called to go as teamsters, they started from Mendon on the 29th of April. Waters very high this season very little irrigation required during the season. About this time a little dissatisfaction became manifest although not enough to seriously disturb the peace of the place and the winter passed without anything worthy of note taking place.
The spring of 1863 was very early, as early as February stock could live out. The ground was very dry not being wet down six inches, but spring rains came and a good crop was raised that season. Mendon this season was called upon to furnish two teams and a night guard for Florence. The teamsters called were Ralph Foster and Jasper Lemmon and Albert M. Baker as guard. Nothing of importance passed during the year, the winter passed very quietly the people enjoying themselves in dances and other amusements. Although the Indians had been more or less troublesome requiring the people to be on guard by night and day and be prepared to defend themselves under every emergency and this continued preparation prevented any serious depredations of the Indians. A short time previous to this they were very insolent to the military authorities in Camp Douglas; they even challenged the commander of the fort General Patrick E. Connor to come north and fight them. He accordingly started with a force of United States Troops passing through Mendon on his way, the weather was very cold, a number of the troops froze their feet on the journey, and meet the Indians on the banks of Bear River. After a very severeoutbrea fight the United States Troops completed routed the Indians killing nearly two hundred Indians the U.S. troops also suffered very severely in the fight. The result of this battle was salvation to the settlements of Cache Valley. What few were left was very civil and kindly disposed toward the settlers.
In the spring of 1864 we moved from our fort onto our city lots where we could make permanent improvements by way of houses; and comfortable quarters for our animals, it now being thought safe to enlarge our borders there being sufficient numbers in the settlement to protect ourselves from our enemies. This change however brought no material change in our dwelling houses the old log cabin and dirt roof constituted our best style of dwelling houses for the present. There was one team fitted out by Mendon to go to Florence for Emigrants, Joseph Richards was called as teamster and Albert M. Baker as guard. The grain crop turned out well this year, less smut raised than on previous years. This year grain brought a remunerative price to the framer. The fall and winter passed away very agreeable there being no troubles of any serious nature to disturb the peace of the settlement.
The spring of 1865 came in very favorable and very large amount of grain was sown. The foundation of the meetinghouse was laid in rock and the walls raised during the summer but the roof was not put on till the following spring. The grain crop turned out well this year, very large crops being raised. Some few orchards were planted out and appeared to do well, especially apple trees.
1866, no teams were called to go for the poor this year. The first rock dwelling house in the settlement was commenced this fall by Joseph Baker. This first grain thresher and separator was brought to Mendon this fall it was owned by Alexander Hill and sons. The winter passed as usual all peace and quietness in our midst. 1866, this very eventful year opened with a beautiful spring and the crops were put in very early. There was a call for three full teams and teamsters to go the states and bring in the emigrants. The teamsters who went this year were Charles Bird Jun., Jacob Sorensen, and Joseph Hancock. President counseled all the frontier settlements, which were not strong enough to resist an Indian outbreak to fall back on other settlements and strengthen them. A meeting of all the citizens of Mendon was called to see what was to be done, and in the meeting it was agreed to divide land and water and make room for more settlers and therily strengthen the place and not give it up altogether, we were also required to build a fort large enough to hold all the inhabitants in case an attack should be made upon us. A wall was immediately commenced around the meeting house built of rock the people turning out en–mass for nearly three weeks in the busiest season of the year to put the wall in such a condition that it could be used immediately if required, two thirds of it was completed and the people left it to attend to haying and the work on the wall was never commenced again and through the blessing of the Lord the threatened Indian difficulties passed by without a blow on either side. The 24th of July was very much enjoyed by the people in the new meetinghouse. Harvest was now coming on a very large crop was raised this year, President Brigham and many other elders counseled the people to save their grain and not sell it to our enemies but to put it away against the day of want. In the month of August the grasshoppers began coming in clouds from the north an covering the fields and gardens and eating every green thing that was left; winter passed as usually. Meetings were held in the new meetinghouse but dancing theatres etc. were all conducted in the old log schoolhouse. School was also kept in the old house.
1867, the spring of this year brought with it many serious reflections about sowing grain, the ground being so full of grasshoppers eggs the general belief being that all the grain sowed would be destroyed. The council from the first presidency was to sow all the land with grain. The people generally obeyed the counsel and the result was some raised one half of a crop, some a little more some less, there being no suffering for want of bread. The teams for the poor this year were only required to go to the terminus of the railroad, which was completed of more than half way across the plains. The teamsters called this year were Traugott Stumpf, Lars Larsen, and Bradford Bird. Considerable improvements were made this year in putting [up] good rock dwelling houses. Schools were more regular than heretofore. Peace with the Indians continued, the people finding it cheaper to feed then to fight them. The counsel now given to us by our leaders was stay at home and don’t go to the mines with your flour but let them come here and buy it from us at our own homes. Had this been carried out it world have been a great blessing to us as a people. The winter passed as usual all peace and quietness in our midst.
1868, this year everybody seemed a little fearful of the grasshoppers but the counsel given was plant all the grain possible, and the people did so and although there was not many grasshoppers hatched out on the land yet there was immense clouds continually flying through the air these would occasionally rest for the night and thereby nearly destroyed the wheat crop and took all of the oats. Here and there patches of wheat was saved which turned out very well and brought a very fair price in the market owing to the great demand for grain on the railroad then building across the continent which had now reached to this territory, and large contracts were taken by different ones of our leading men as soon as harvest was over and before threshing was done, a great many had left to work on the railroad on a contract taken by Benson, Farr and West: which made money very plentiful during the fall and winter, grain bringing $3.00 and $4.00 per bushel the winter of 1868 was the mildest known in Cache Valley. Work continuing on the railroad all winter. And stock did well on the range without being fed.
The spring of 1869 came early and a great rush made to finish the railroad, which was completed in the month of May. This spring, Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution, was first started and a branch of it established in Mendon with a capital of $620.00, shares of $20.00 each. Bishop Andrew P. Shumway was president and Charles Shumway Sen., Charles Bird Sen., and Andrew Andersen, Directors, and James G. Willie as secretary and clerk in the store. At the April Conference Bishop Andrew P. Shumway and Charles Shumway, Jun. Were called on a Mission to England and Henry Hughes President of the Teachers Quorum was appointed acting bishop in his place. The grasshoppers this year were very numerous, and very destructive on the grain not quite half a crop of wheat and very few oats were raised. Many other settlements suffered worse then Mendon there being many places where the entire crop was destroyed. After Andrew P. Shumway’s departure on his mission Bishop Henry Hughes took his place as President of the Co-operative store and Ralph Foster was appointed vice president, he was also appointed president of the Teachers Quorum. The winter passed by very agreeably and quiet as usual.
1870, spring came early and although there was many grasshoppers in the ground a large quantity of grain was sown. This year the first School of the Prophets was established in Salt Lake City and a branch of the same was commenced in Logan. The bishops of the various settlements being called to recommend the brethren who attended the school. During this year the Utah Central Rail Road was commenced from Ogden to Salt Lake City, which met with considerable opposition. Some of our leading businessmen declared that it would never pay working expenses. But President Young kept encouraging the brethren and telling them that it would yet be one of the best paying rail roads in the country. And since then it has proved the truth of his assertion as it is now paying as well as any railroad in the United States. The grasshoppers were very troublesome this year destroying about one half of the small grain yet enough was raised to supply the settlement with bread the winter passed very quietly nothing happening to disturbs our peace the winter being open during the year that passed we suffered a loss in the death of Elder Ezra T. Benson one of the Twelve Apostles. He dropped dead in the street of Ogden City on the [third] day of [September] 1869.
In the spring of 1871 considerable grain was sown especially wheat, oats were sown very sparingly as the grasshoppers had been very severe on the oat crop for the last four years, as the season advanced the crops looked well and everything looked like the farmer should reap an abundant harvest. During the latter part of the spring Bishop Peter Maughan was taken sick from which he never recovered, he died in Logan City on the [24th] day of [April] 1871. It was in this year that Chief Justice McKean was sent to Utah to persecute the Mormons by law if possible and if it could not be done by law, to do it anyhow, he changed the laws to suit his own views and gave rulings in court in direct opposition to the laws of the Territory and sought by every means in his power and by the assistance of the ring in Salt Lake City, a body of men composed of the off scourings of civilization, broken down politicians and blacklegs, who had banded themselves together for the purpose of misrepresenting the Latter-day Saints and up the anger of the people of the United States against us as a people, hoping to draw the attention of the government and persuade them if possible to send an army here to wipe out the Mormon men that they might have their wives and daughters to ravish and have all their property to divide among them. They even went so far as to divide some of the most valuable property and that appeared to them the most desirable, but “The best laid plans of mice and men aft gang aglu.” And so with them some of our most respected citizens were arrested and taken to Camp Douglas and kept there for some time among them were President Daniel H. Wells, who were charged with the crime of murder, and still not satisfied they arrested President Brigham Young and kept him a prisoner in one of his own houses during the winter. The charge preferred against him being lascivious cohabitation with his own wives, an appeal against these proceedings having been taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. It was then decided that the proceedings of Chief Justice McKean in Utah were illegal and all his rulings and decisions null and void. All our brethren who had been held prisoners were released this very eventful year ended in peace and rejoicing that the cloud had passed and the horizon was once more clear a work of great importance to this country was commenced this fall the building of the Utah Northern Rail Road a narrow gauge [three foot] road. John W. Young was appointed as President and William B. Preston as Vice-President of the road.
Considerable of work was done during the fall and winter and in the spring of 1872 a large number turned out and considerable of grading was done and the road made ready for the ties and iron across the divide between Cache and Box Elder County. A considerable force also turned out from Brigham City and other settlements and commenced grading towards the warm springs and as fast as graded the ties and rails were laid and an engine was sent for from the states and put to work on the road. The work was pushed forward as fast as possible although like every public work it had its opposes whose influence retarded but did not stop the work which kept moving along slowly but surely in the direction of Logan City and on Friday the 20th day of December the school children of Mendon and all who wished to accompany them went out to Three Mile Creek got on the cars and rode into Mendon. A grand ball was given in the evening in honor of the occasion and all true friends of progress felt to rejoice that Mendon was now in direct communication by rail and steam with all the markets of the country.
Mendon, February 25th, 1872
Minutes of a meeting in the meeting house concerning all land in the City Entry, to see whether owners of land within the field fence shall have to pay any more than has been already paid. Motioned by Bishop Henry Hughes that all land within the field fence shall be paid for at the same rate as any other Government Land. Seconded by Andrew Andersen. Vote unanimous.
Mendon July 6th, 1872
Minutes of a meeting held in the meetinghouse. Present on the stand, Bishops William B. Preston, William Hyde, Marriner W. Merrill, Lorenzo Hatch, Henry Hughes and Elder Jeremiah Hatch and Robert Green. Meeting called to order by Bishop William B. Preston. Choir sang, “The Morning Breaks.” Prayer by Jeremiah Hatch. Choir sang, “God Moves In A Mysterious Way.” Bishop Merrill made some excellent remarks on every day duties, counseled us to give up all our labors and lay aside all our cares, and attend to every meeting and we should loose nothing by it, advised us to save our grain our hay and everything the Lord has blessed us with. Counseled us to be kind to the Indians, to feed them and do what was right by them. Elder Robert Green spoke upon the principle of self-government, and the gathering of Israel and bore a faithful testimony to the truth of the work of God. Bishop William B. Preston advised us to take care of our grain and not sell it as there was no market at present for wheat. Counseled us to turn our attention to other industries such as raising corn, oats, and barley, cheese, etc. for exportation and not import those articles that can be raised in abundance here at home, also take a little more time to improve our minds and devote more time to the building up of the Kingdom of God. Choir sang, “Land Of Light.” Benediction by Bishop William Hyde. Meeting adjourned till 2:00 p. m.
2:00 p.m. Meeting called to order by Bishop William B. Preston, Choir sang, “Come Ye That Love The Lord.” Prayer by Elder Robert Green. Choir sang, “Praise The Lord All Ye Nations.” Elder Jeremiah Hatch spoke on obedience to the principles of the Gospel and the blessing resulting there from, showed the good results of gathering to the mountains. Elder Christian Larsen bore a faithful testimony to the truth of the Gospel. Counseled us to give up the cares of the harvest and hay field and attend the two days meeting and to keep the word of wisdom and attend the Sacrament Meetings. Bishop William Hyde treated on the power of the Holy Priesthood, the gathering of the poor from the nations of the earth and officiating for our dead. Elder John W. Young bore testimony to the remarks of Bishop William Hyde, said his mind was at present taken up with railroad matters, said that many of the brethren had done well yet there are many who had done comparatively nothing and he wished to know the mind of the people whether they would put the road through immediately, or prefer selling out to capitalists for a fair remuneration for their labor, he wished the mind of the brethren [present] on the subject as early as possible. Choir sang, “Now Pray We For Our Country.” Benediction by Bishop Ola N. Liljenquiest. Adjourned till Sunday morning at ten o’clock a. m.
Mendon July 7, 8:30 a.m. 1872
Sunday School met, general questions were asked by the Superintendent John Donaldson, on the first Principles of the Gospel, after which Elder William Hyde made some excellent remarks on obedience and duties of children to their parents. He was followed by Elder Jeremiah Hatch, who gave good counsel to us to obey our teachers, our parents, and the Holy Priesthood. Benediction by Joseph Richards.
10:00 a.m. Meeting called to order by Bishop Hughes. Choir sang, “On The Mountain Tops Appearing.” Prayer by Bishop Merrill. Choir sang, “To The Only Wise God.” Bishop Littlewood (William F. Rigby) spoke on the signs of the times of the power and influence of the Priesthood with the honest in heart and bore testimony that revelation is still in the midst of this people. Bishop Liljenquist spoke of the responsibility of parents for their children. Counseled us to stay at home and help gather this abundant harvest and not to go to the Gentiles and help build them up, but trust in God and everything we desire will follow in due time. Advised every man when the day for voting comes to go and deposit our votes, before going to our labors and prove by our actions that we will sustain the Holy Priesthood. Bishop William H. Maughan spoke on the necessity of obedience to the commands of God. Counseled us to be kind to our families and attend strictly to our prayers. Choir sang, “Lo The Gentile Chain Is Broken.” Meeting adjourned till 2 p.m. Benediction by Bishop Samuel Roskelley.
2:00 p.m. Meeting called to order by Bishop Henry Hughes. Choir sang, “An Angel From On High.” Prayer by Francis Gunnell. Choir sang, “May We Who Know the Joyful Sound.” Sacrament being ready. Blessing on the bread, by James G. Willie, on the water, by Ralph Foster. Choir sang, “Jesus Once of Humble Birth.” Bishop Hatch spoke on obedience to the principles of the Gospel, urged very earnestly that we meet and partake of the Sacrament and bless the bread and water using the exact language recorded in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and counseled us to save our grain this year and not sell it. Bishop William B. Preston spoke the law of Tithing, counseled us to be punctual in paying our tithing, he also counseled us to be careful in putting out fire in the bottoms as everything was so dry an immense damage would be done to the hay land and wanted every [one] to turn out should a fire get started and put it out at once.
Mendon July 29th, 1873
Minutes of a meeting to nominate a mayor and six councilors, and two city justices. A motion was made by Bishop Henry Hughes that James G. Willie be appointed chairman, seconded, and vote unanimous. The chairman then appointed a committee to nominate officers for the above positions. The Committee were John Donaldson, Jasper Lemmon, Ralph Foster, Charles Bird Jun. and Albert Baker and Bradford Bird. Adam C. Smyth was elected clerk for the meeting. When the above mentioned committee had retired Bishop Hughes delivered a short speech on elections, followed by Charles Bird Sen. who spoke of politics in General Jackson’s time.
Population of Mendon 700. Noted for thoroughbred draughts and trotting horses. A splendid racetrack, horn stock, splendid range, good farming land. Every family lives in his own house; facilities for lumber not as good as elsewhere. Home industries encouraged.
Councilor 1st, Andrew Andersen, 2nd, John Donaldson. Substantial rock houses, Bishop a farmer. Railroad point nine miles from Logan by road or by rail. Several stations between here and Brigham City. Dull winter season enlivened by theatricals, dance and lectures. A Young Men’s Mutual Improvement, a Young Ladies Society and a Female Relief Society.1
1. Mendon Ward Historical Record, Book A, 1857 to 1919, unpublished manuscript.