The first permanent settlement on Bear River was made by John Myers. In 1855 he came across the plains to Utah, and two years later was working as carpenter at Fort Bridger. In 186o he made his home on the east bank of Bear River at the point where the Salt Lake Trail crossed the stream, and from that day the place has been known as Myers’ Crossing. Among the group of well-kept buildings situated near the lower boundary of the ranch there was conspicuous for many years a two-story frame dwelling that had been moved to Hilliard and was the home of the family. This was burned down in 1922, and has been replaced by a pretty, modern structure, where lives Fred B. Myers, one of the five sons of John Myers. His wife, a daughter of Lort Lewis, who came to Wyoming as a rancher on upper Bear River, is a member of another family named Lewis, that traces its ancestry back to the early Welsh kings. They have two children, a boy and a girl. Extending some seven miles up the valley is one of the most beautiful ranches in the West. In the field about six miles above the crossing is the home of Charles A., another son of John Myers. No man stands higher in Uinta County than Charles Myers, and it is safe to say that in the state senate, to which he has been twice elected, he has done as much for sound moral and business principles as any man in Wyoming. He married Miss Nell .Pepper and they have three children. The eldest of the family went to Texas and never married. A sister, Mrs. Leonard, made her home in Evanston for some years, and was the mother of six children, one of whom, Mrs. F. W. Hutchenreiter, still lives here. The brother Phillip moved to Salt Lake City, where he died. John Myers has a fine ranch at Piedmont and is the father of three children. The youngest of the family, a daughter named Grace, is the wife of E. H. Darling of Salt Lake City, and they are the parents of one girl. John Myers died in 1901 and is buried in the Evanston cemetery. His widow, now eighty-three years old, divides her time between Salt Lake and the ranch. From her doorstep she has seen the evolution of the transportation of sixty years, first over the winding trail where the lumbering emigrant wagon was followed by the stage
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coach and the pony express, then along the roadbed, carefully surveyed for the steam horse with its huge loads of freight and passengers, and today across the trackless sky, where the government mail planes take their flight.
The meadows lying under the over-hanging cliffs at Myers’ Crossing were a favorite camping ground for Washakie’s band, and that famous chief advanced to a place of friendship in the Myers family. Among many things that he told John Myers was that the year 1837 was a sad one for the Indians, as most of the buffalo in the vicinity died that winter.
One summer morning the peace of the Indian camp in the meadows was broken by the clatter of horses’ hoofs rounding the cliff above, and the voice of the rider who, with every leap of his steed, shouted the single word, “Cheyenne, Cheyenne, Cheyenne!” He was a scout who had been sent out to spy on the movements of their dreaded enemy. Mr. Myers said that within twenty minutes of the first alarm not a sign of an Indian was to be seen in the valley, human beings, tents and horses seeming to have vanished into thin air.
On Sunday, September 28, 1924, a monument was erected on the crest of the hill at the side of the old trail approaching Myers’ Crosssing from the east, in honor of the Mormon pioneers who reached this spot July 12, 1847. About seven hundred people gathered to witness the ceremonies that were conducted by the Woodruff Stake of the Latter Day Saints. The memorial is built of cobblestones set in cement on a cement base. It is built in the form of a pyramid surmounted by a beehive, and bears an appropriate inscription on a metal slab. Near the trail is the grave of Mrs. Mary Lewis, a member of an early band, who died in 1852.
Following the completion of the railroad the demand for ties and building material became imperative. William K. Sloan, who has already been mentioned as a pioneer of Utah, erected a sawmill at the mouth of Mill Creek, a stream that enters Bear River about thirty miles above Hilliard, and lumber products of all sorts were soon turned out. Hauling by team was expensive and slow, and Mr. Sloan conceived the idea of building a flume for the purpose of floating down the lumber. The Hilliard Flume and Lumber Company was organized by him, in which were in-
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terested John W. Kerr, Fred H. Myers and W. H. Wadsworth, all Nevada capitalists. Mr. Sloan was treasurer, a Salt Lake man named John W. Fowler was secretary and Alfred H. Bemis of Salt Lake was superintendent of construction. The flume began at the mouth of Fish Creek, and there a town known as Mill City sprang up. It consisted of a sawmill, a company store and boarding places for the men, the number of whom reached five hundred at one time. The construction began at the upper end where the lumber was prepared. After the completion of two or three miles water was turned in and the material for further building floated down to be distributed along the surveyed route by ox teams. A branch called the Howe flume extended six miles above Mill City, and there were also two feeders from East Fork and Mill Creek that served to swell the volume of water and supply that lost by leakage. It was built in a “V” shape of planks two inches thick and a foot wide, two and a half boards being used to each side, and was supported on a scaffolding of posts. Eighty tons of nails were put into it. The height varied with the contour of the country from the level of the ground to thirty feet over the railroad tracks at Hilliard. So great was the fall that a log put in the flume at Mill City could reach Hil-liard in two hours if unhindered in its journey by “jams”, and men were stationed along its course to prevent these obstructions. It was later decided that the better plan would be to float down the raw timber, as the soaking of the prepared lumber and the necessary rough handling en route were injurious, and accordingly the mill was moved to Hilliard. Here the lumber was distributed to the railroad for use as ties and building props in mines, and to the mill for the preparation of building material.
These were the days when there was a great demand for charcoal in the smelting industry, and the feasibility of using the smaller trees and the limbs in making this product was soon demonstrated. Thirty-six kilns were erected at Hilliard, structures about thirty feet across and thirty feet high, made of brick and shaped like the- old-fashioned beehive. The kilns were filled from the top and dosed, a fire was started and was so regulated as to subject the contents to a smouldering heat for several days, at the end of which time the drafts were dosed and the fire was permitted to die out. When cold enough for handling, the wood
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was removed so evenly charred that logs a foot thick were almost uniform in appearance from bark to core. A large business was done with all the smelting companies in the western states, and a small smelter was put up at Hilliard, but this proved to be a poor investment because of the expense in shipping the crude ore, and was soon discontinued. The decline of the charcoal industry began with the use of coke in smelters, and resulted in the shutting down of the Hilliard kilns. The price of charcoal fell from twenty-seven to seven cents a bushel.
There was a falling off, too, in the demand for native lumber, due to shipping in of a better quality from the Northwestern states. The Hilliard Flume and Lumber Company, in which not far from $200,000 had been invested, was sold to a company of Boston capitalists, Bean, Biglow & Chapin, but not before it had passed from the experimental stage when it was laughingly referred to as “Sloan’s Folly”, to a paying investment that had brought employment to a large number of workmen and had stimulated business of various kinds in Wyoming. The new company faced the same difficulties as had the original one, and failed to make a success of the work. At length G. W. Carleton, telegraph operator at Hilliard, paid $500 for the holdings consisting of the kilns, the company’s buildings at Hilliard and the flume that was rapidly falling to pieces. He repaired ten miles of it, floated down wood for various purposes and for some years continued to turn out charcoal that he shipped to Salt Lake for use in restaurants and other places. After even this demand ceased, the flume fell into ruin and the ranchers appropriated the lumber for buildings. About the only trace today of this once active industry is to be found in the plant life that marks its course. Seeds from the mountain sides that were carried down by the waters have found beds in the soil of the lowlands, perpetuating as nature only can the records of the past.
Hilliard attracted to it the Myers family from Bear River
Crossing, and they conducted a boarding house for some years. Another boarding house was opened by Mr. and Mrs. Clement C. LaChappelle. He was a French-Canadian, and his wife was from an English family that had settled in Utah. They took up a: ranch on Sulphur Creek, and after a time moved to Evanston, where two of their children still live, Roger, who is an engineer on the rail-
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road, and who married Marion, the youngest daughter of Thomas Scott, and Valerie, who became the wife of Frank Cashin. Louise taught school here for many years, and married J. Whitney of Kemmerer, and they now make their home in California. Flo LaChappelle, clerk of the court of Lincoln County for some years, was appointed State Librarian by Governor Ross.
W. S. Smith was another resident of Hilliard who later moved to Evanston, and who served the county as deputy sheriff in the early days. His daughter Grace taught the first school at Hilliard, a position that was filled some years later by Annie Sloan, daughter of William K. Sloan. She became the wife of C. M. Bissell, a prominent railroad man of New York state and makes her home in Albany, as does the youngest daughter, Ella, who married E. M. Cameron of that city. Another daughter, Alice, was married to Frank Walker, who came from the East to manage the flume. They are living in Boston.
G. W. Carlton was a Canadian by birth. He came to Salt Lake with the first telegraph operators after the completion of the line. Here he met Miss Cora Georgia Snow, daughter of an associate judge on the supreme bench of Utah, and a strong friendship was formed that culminated in their marriage late in life. Mrs. Carleton was a remarkable woman, whose story is in itself a romance embodying the most thrilling experiences of the life of the isolated State of Deseret and its development. She was the first woman to be admitted to the bar in Utah, an honor that was conferred on her and Phoebe Cousins at the same time. The Carletons divided their time between their home in Hilliard, the town of Evanston, and San Diego, California, where Mrs. Carleton was honored by being the first woman to be elected to the position of trustee of the public schools.
Mr, Carleton was a member of the state legislature of Wyoming for one term. Both Mr. and Mrs. Carleton died in California.
A man by the name of Ferguson was the first to settle on upper Bear River. He did not have a patent, but for some years held the place by “squatter’s right”. In i 88 i George C. L. Goodman took up a claim near by, and the next year a soldier’s homestead was taken up by his father, Elias Goodman. The Ferguson buildings and improvements were bought by them.
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The first member of the Goodman family to come to Wyoming was John S., who worked for the railroad at Green River as early as 1872. The next year he was joined by George, the youngest of the four brothers, and together they moved to Hilliard to work on the flume. The father, Elias Goodman, with his wife and his two remaining sons, followed them and all engaged in the sheep business. The ranches were models in their way and were brought to a high state of efficiency. Elias Goodman died in 1896 and his widow some twelve years later. John Goodman had four children and now lives in southern California. Job, the second son, married Amelia Brewer, a native of New York, and they are the parents of two sons, Arthur and Albert, who married the two daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Jones. Arthur’s family, in which there are two sons, lives in Evanston with Mr. and Mrs. Job Goodman in the home built by D. B. Rathbun. Albert, with his wife and daughter, moved to Stockton, California. job Goodman has served the county both as assessor and treasurer. The brother William moved to Idaho, where he died. George Goodman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elias Goodman, was for many years engaged in the lumber business in Evanston, where two attractive homes now belonging to J. E. Martin and John W. R. Rennie, are among the monuments to his memory. Mr. Goodman was one of our foremost citizens. He married Ruby Billings, a teacher who came here from Boston and who, with her daughter Elynor, lives in California. Mr. Goodman died in 1920 and was buried in the Evanston cemetery.
John Hatten was for many years a well-known hunter and trapper at the bend of the river on Mill Creek, where he was in charge of the dam. He came in 1877 and his wife two years later. For three years Mrs. Hatten lived in the home cabin without seeing a white face other than those of her own family. There are two sons, the oldest of whom is Jesse, a prominent business man of Evanston. He married Anna, daughter of C. A. Lannon, and the family, in which there are four girls and one boy, live in the home built by Senator Clark. Mrs. John Hatten also lives in Evanston. Edgar, the second son, lives in Salt Lake.
Jesse Hatten owns a valuable ranch running east from the river. Across the river is the Homer place. Below the Hatten ranch we come to those of George Barker, J. F. McKinnon and
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the Crown, which was originally taken up by R. M. Lewis. Emmet Hare’s and the Phipps ranches lie between it and Charles Myers.
South of Hatten’s is the ranch taken up by Michael Lowham, a Scotch-Irish settler, who had one daughter and nine sons, all of whom were well known in the vicinity.
Charles Danielson was the first to demonstrate the raising of vegetables in this high-lying region. Emil Pauly and Michael
Mariarky took up ranches near the river. +
In the days of the eastward march of the Coxey Army there dropped off in Evanston a man with his roll of blankets. His name was James Havorka. Nobody asked his nationality, but they soon found out that he belonged to the brave race of men whose steadfast purpose is the building of a home. In the course of time he located highest up on Bear River. Today the $40 he had in his pocket on the day of his arrival has been multiplied a thousand-fold. His wife and two children, one of whom is a teacher in our high school, have added to the lasting worth of our county.
The Lewis families are fondly remembered, though they left Uinta County many years ago. R. M. Lewis, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, was employed for many years by Beckwith, Lauder & Company. He married Miss Sarah Reed, a teacher from the state of Maine. They have one son, who has achieved success as a civil engineer, and one daughter. Thomas Lewis married Rose Clinton, and they have a son and two daughters. They went from here to Wenatchee, Washington.
The tract of land south of the railroad at Hilliard was for a time known as Poverty Flat, not because of the character of the land, but from the financial condition of the settlers, most of whom came from the Almy coal camp. They made every sacrifice, many working in the mines in winter to earn money to buy a cow or two with which to start a herd, while their wives and small children were often shut off from communication with the outside world for weeks at a time by the deep snows. A striking example of success that has repaid such efforts is seen in the Barker Brothers Land & Livestock Company. Today the Hilliard Flats is a prosperous ranching district, with modern schools, that produces more hay than any other section of the
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same size in the mountain region, as well as a good yield of hardy grain.
The deprivations of ranch life are offset by many advantages, and one of these is the pleasure of guests in the home. Besides the invited friends there are many who make the ranch a stopping place for their own convenience, and these often add unexpectedly to the joy of life, especially to that of the children, who are always on tiptoe to catch a glimpse of the things that lie just beyond their horizon. The forest ranger, the government expert, the church worker, the hunter or the fisherman caught by storm or accident far from his expected stopping place, all write their paragraphs on pages not blurred by too frequent inscriptions. Surely the guests of the ranch home have but a faint conception of their importance! They may be found wanting, but they are sure to be weighed in the balance, not by ignorant admirers, but by minds unspoiled by too much worldly wisdom.
When in 1887 Charles Moslander took up land on the Big Muddy the county assessor, J. Van A. Carter, made the remark that a man with courage enough to settle on the Aspen ridge deserved to have his taxes rebated. Today this same ranch, which has always been devoted to cattle, is one of the most flourishing in the country. Mr. Moslander is a native of Missouri. His wife, from a pioneer Utah family, possessed all of the courage necessary to bring success. There were many sacrifices made in order to give the seven children the benefits of education, but they were cheerfully endured.
The LaChappelle ranch was on the same side of the range, and it now belongs to Schmidt & Rupe. Three Scotch families, the Grahams, Hursts and Gordons, are remembered as early settlers here.
Charles Guild had a store at Piedmont that dated from the time of the building of the Union Pacific and is now conducted by his daughter, Mrs. Mary M. Cross. The family engaged in ranching, and George Guild and Mrs. James Guild have extensive interests here. Joseph Byrne, son of Moses Byrne, has, a fine ranch adjoining.
On Yellow Creek, west of the town, are the Wright ranches and those belonging to J. M. Peart, the Stahley brothers, Charles
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Hagerman, the Spencers and David Dean. On school days a wagon brings the children from this district to the Evanston schools.
The Bear River valley lying north of Almy is commercially tributary to Evanston, although most of it belongs to Rich County, Utah. The first settlement, called Woodruff, from the Mormon apostle of that name, was made in the year 1869 by three men named Joseph Fife, George Eastman and John Burns. The first mentioned was the only one to remain there permanently, and his descendants are well known in Evanston. Among the citizens of Evanston who have come to us from here are Bishop Baxter, the Eastmans, George Neville, the Spencer brothers, the Reeds, and the Dean family.
The outcroppings of coal in the Spring Valley district received mention in Stansbury’s and other early government reports. About the year 1898 the Union Pacific Coal Company sent out miners from Almy under the leadership of James Bowns, and he was made superintendent of the mine opened there. In 1900 the work was extended and David G. Thomas was appointed superintendent. There were at one time about three hundred and fifty men in the camp. A school under W. H. Moss, who taught in Almy, was opened. Among the leading men of the camp were Joseph Dean, William J. Starkey, Seth Thomas, Joseph B. Martin and other old Almy residents, who, in 1905, when the mine closed on account of the inferior quality of coal, moved to Evanston. Dr. E. E. Levers, who had succeeded Dr. Gamble as mine physician at Almy and who held the same position at Spring Valley, was for three years in partnership with Dr. J. L. Wicks. He was a native of Ohio, as was also his wife, who will be remembered here as an accomplished musician and one of the sweetest singers it has been our good fortune to have in our midst.
The first to open a mine in this valley was judge Carter. It was later known as the Lezeart mine, and was for years operated by M. W. Isherwood. The production was steady but not large, and the coal is fine for household purposes.
The presence of oil in the Spring Valley region was known to the early trappers, but the first published account is contained in a small volume called the “Mormon’s Guide Book,” that ap-
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peared in 1848.1 After describing the crossing of Sulphur Creek, the passage reads as follows : “About a mile from this place in a southwest course is a `tar’ or `oil’ spring, covering a surface of several rods of ground. There is a wagon trail running within a short distance of it. It is situated in a small hollow on the left of the wagon trail, at a point where the trail rises to a higher bench of land. When the oil can be obtained free of sand, it is useful to oil wagons. It gives a nice polish to gun stocks, and has been proved highly beneficial when applied to the sores on horses.” A shallow well was dug out around the spring and it was called the Brigham Young Oil Spring.
In 1868 Judge Carter, in driving a tunnel for coal about three miles west of Spring Valley, struck a flow of oil and developed a well there and another near by that produced about six barrels a day of heavy lubricating oil. It was sold to the Union Pacific at prices varying from forty cents to a dollar a gallon.
In 1867 the ever-enterprising C. M. White began to drill a well in NW 1/4, section 33, township 14 N., range i 19.2 Drilling was done to the depth of four hundred eighty feet, but misfortunes in losing tools and the great difficulty in supplying them at that early date, caused him to abandon the undertaking the next year.
The importance of this oil region was never lost sight of, but it was not until the beginning of the present century that capital became sufficiently interested to take up the work in earnest. In August, 1900, the Union Pacific, in drilling for a water well, struck sand containing oil of a high grade at the depth 0f a little less than 50o feet. Excitement spread and the country was soon staked out under the placer mining laws. Big companies appeared on the field and claims were located by the American Consolidated, the Atlantic & Pacific, the Pittsburg-Salt Lake, the Jager Oil, the Michigan-Wyoming and others. Sinclair and Doheny of Teapot oil fame were on the ground, and it is remembered that in January, 1901, the latter gave a lecture on oil production to an interested audience in the Downs Opera House. Among the local concerns that started drilling were the Nebergal, the Texas King, the Citizens, the Roberts, the Producers, and
1 W. Clayton, “The Latter Day Saints Emigrant Guide.’° z Veatch. Government report.
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the Mountain Oil Companies. The last three named were combined under the Mountain Oil Company, and this company has held on and has produced oil continuously.
An act of Congress, dated July i, 1862, had granted to the Union Pacific Railroad every alternate section along its course for twenty miles on either side of the road, these being the odd numbered sections. The rights of the road did not extend to mineral wealth, other than coal and iron. The road had the coal mine on section 27, township 15 north, range 118 west. The right to drill on this section was claimed by some promoters, and a contest rose between the Union Pacific and the General Land Office, with the result that the contention of the road was sustained for this particular section, which was declared to be more valuable for coal than for oil. December i, 1903, was placed for the limit for other contested sections, and this served to stimulate operators in developing the field. The work was pushed and a wonderfully fine quality of oil was taken out ; but, like many other precious things, it was not found in great quantity.
Many difficulties were encountered in drilling, and the operators claimed that the Union Pacific, on which they were dependent for transportation, discriminated against them. In the years 1905 to 1910 the work declined. During the years of inactivity a well-known man named Clem Morrison has been general caretaker of the properties.
C. A. Dorn, one of the Spring Valley oil men, lived f or a time in Evanston with his wife and three children. He was connected with the Commercial Club, an organization that met in the upper story of the Beckwith Building and for some years did good work. The Dorns moved to Oklahoma, where he met with great financial success.
E. W. Trenan of the Mountain Oil Company is remembered as one who held on perseveringly until 1913, when adverse conditions caused him to leave the field, to engage in business in Salt Lake City.
F. A. Miller, an experienced driller, also lived in Evanston, where he bought the home now owned by Thomas Bird. Mr. Miller became superintendent of the Ferris Oil Company.
C. E. Hummel worked f or many years for the Vulcan Oil Company. He has a home on Morse Lee Street in Evanston,
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where live his wife and daughter Esther, who became the wife of Elmer Ewer.
One of the oldest men in the field is A. H. Whiteman, whose faith has been rewarded by a producing well of great promise that he has drilled on section 13, township 15 north, range 118.
The well was “shot” September the twenty-first, making a twenty-five barrel well of 43° gravity oil. It is not too much to say that the prospects for what Veatch calls “a very interesting field” are full of hope.