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Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage
Family History Driving Tours

A touring guide to areas and artifacts important to our family history in Utah and Idaho

by

James K Morgan

This list of places to visit in Utah and Idaho is being made available so you can print it and carry it with you on driving tours of areas that are important to, and have important family artifacts of, our family history.

-UTAH-

Fillmore, Utah.

The county seat for Millard County and once the territorial capitol, Fillmore was the early territorial capital of Utah. The original Statehouse building stands today as the oldest existing governmental building in the state and is maintained by the State of Utah as a historic site and museum. It contains the best collection of old portraits of pioneers I have ever seen. The early courthouse, housed in this building, was visited by Thomas Morgan on at least one occasion that we can document. It is now staffed by volunteers and you might have to round someone up to open it for you. But it is worth the trouble. I recommend you take time to tour this building and the area around it.

Fillmore

Click on the link above to access a website with more information about fillmore.

Fort Deseret.

Fort Deseret was erected in 1865 to protect settlers during the Blackhawk Indian War. It was completed in 18 days by 98 men. John Whitlock Radford was superintendent. The men were divided into two teams who competed against each other to see who could do their part fastest. The winners were to be treated by the losers to a dance and supper. One group completed their wall in nine days while a second group finished theirs a few hours later. Since part of the first team's wall fell down, it was considered a tie by those two groups and an opening celebration was held July 25, 1865. The fort was 550-feet square with bastions at the northeast and southwest corners. It had gates in the middle of each side and portholes along each wall. The walls were made of adobe mud and straw mixed by the feet of oxen. A ditch was dug to carry water around the walls. When completed, the walls were 10-feet high, 3-feet wide at the base and 1.5-feet wide at the top. Rough-hewn lumber was used to make portals through which guns could be fired. The walls rest on a three-foot wide lava stone foundation. Fort Deseret serves as a landmark of Mormon pioneer history and is the only remaining example of the many adobe forts built in Utah. It's communal construction using materials at hand exemplifies the cooperative and resourceful nature of Mormon settlement. Fort Deseret is a few miles south of Delta, Utah.

Oak City.

Oak City was founded by the Morgan, Radford, Lovell and a few other families. It was laid out so that each founder got a big lot for his house and corrals. They all lived in town, not out on their farms, an early LDS practice not seen today. If you take your Thomas Morgan book with you there is a map of Oak City that shows the lot Thomas (and others) owned. Most of the houses in Oak City are made of adobe, but have been covered over with siding so you can't tell. Oak city is the best remaining example of an LDS Church sanctioned and planned settlement.

Leamington.

Leamington, Utah was explored by Thomas Morgan and others in 1871 and established in 1872 when Thomas Morgan and others established the first homesteads there. Leamington was named after a city in England. Thomas Morgan established the first homestead there. In the Leamington city center, you will find the refurbished log cabin built by Thomas Morgan. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers moved it off the Thomas Morgan farm, which is unfortunate because Thomas built first a dugout to live in, then build the cabin on top of the dugout. Because the cabin has been moved, the dugout has been filled in and lost. And the cabin has been restored in ways that lost much of the original exterior. But it is preserved, is identified as Thomas Morgan's cabin, and is worth visiting.

Also look at the LDS church in Leamington which stands near the Thomas Morgan Cabin in the center of town. It is a very old church. The original church built there was made of logs and is no longer in existence. The church that is there now was built in two stages. Look at it carefully and note which is the old, original, part and which is the new addition.

From the town center in Leamington go about 1/4 mile East (half way back to where the road from Oak City comes in and just past the store) and turn North (Left) across the railroad tracks onto the Thomas Morgan homestead. The adobe house he built is on the left side just before you cross the irrigation ditch. The irrigation ditch is the Morgan Ditch, built by Thomas Morgan. He used a home made level to survey the ditch route and dug the ditch by hand and with horse scrapers. The dugout and log cabin that now reside in the center of town near the church once stood just across the irrigation ditch from the adobe house. In other words, the dugout and log cabin were on the North side of the irrigation ditch and the adobe house was on the South side of the irrigation ditch. Take a look at the adobe house and notice that the lean-to that was attached to the North wall of the house and used as a kitchen has been removed and you can see the remains of the stairway that went up from the kitchen to the upstairs.

A little further along the road, past the Thomas Morgan adobe house and down the hill, is the new concrete bridge over the Sevier River. When Thomas Morgan homesteaded here there was no bridge and Thomas had to contend with the river when his cattle got over to the North side. There are folklore stories of Thomas crossing this river carrying a stone to keep from being swept downstream.

The last owner of the property was Rich Finlinson, who died recently, and now his son in law Spence Butler runs the place (The place has been in the Finlinson family since Thomas Morgan sold it to them). Spence is OK with people poking around the old Morgan adobe house but it would probably be best to locate him and ask permission before going onto the property. Spence lives in the house next to (South side) of Thomas Morgan's adobe house.

Leamington Cemetery.

Take the road toward Oak City a ways and find the road that turns East and goes up to the cemetery. We have never been able to locate the graves of Julia Elizabeth Smith Ross (who may be listed on a headstone as Julia Ross) or Eliza Morgan Morrison (who will probably be listed on a headstone as Eliza Morrison). If you have time, send your scouts out and see if you can find these graves. If you are really dedicated you might want to look up the sexton records and see if either of these two lost family members are listed as buried in the Leamington Cemetery.

Things of Interest in the area.

The area between Fillmore, Leamington and Deseret has not changed much over time and is one of the last undeveloped areas of Utah. You can drive along roads and see Mormon Hay Derricks, "Bull" fences (Fences made of interlaced cedar posts without wire), charcoal kilns, and old graineries like my dad made. It is an historically rich area, worth taking some time to explore. The Bull fence is just out of Oak City. As you drive around this area watch for these historical artifacts.

Charcoal Kilns.

Just East of Leamington there are still two stone charcoal kilns. They stand right beside the highway and are easy to spot. You can stop and explore these kilns. George Morrison, husband of our Eliza Morgan, once operated these kilns but he did not build them.

Eureka

North of Oak City and Leamington is a very interesting old mining town named Eureka, Utah (If you are traveling North, take Hwy 132 from Leamington over to Lynndyl and then turn North). Eureka is located approximately seventy miles southwest of Salt Lake City in Juab County. Incorporated as a city in 1892, Eureka became the financial center for the Tintic Mining District, a wealthy gold and silver mining area in Utah and Juab counties. The district was organized in 1869 and by 1899 became one of the top mineral producing areas in Utah. Eureka housed the "Big Four" mines -- Bullion Beck and Champion, Centennial Eureka, Eureka Hill, and Gemini-and later the Chief Consolidated Mining Company. The Chief was developed by the Walter Fitch family which had it's own family cemetery -- a most unique feature in any western mining town. Jesse Knight was one of relatively few Mormon mining magnates in the West. Poor throughout his youth, he was handsomely rewarded for his diligence as a prospector with the discovery of the famous Humbug mine in the Tintic Mining District near Eureka, Utah, in 1886. As the Humbug proved profitable, he acquired other mines in the vicinity, including the Uncle Sam, Beck Tunnel, Iron Blossom, and Colorado. Worth visiting are the old Eureka City Hall and the Old LDS Meeting House which was built in 1902 in Gothic Revival Style. In 1979 Eureka was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Tintic Mining District. The cabin that Porter Rockwell lived in has been moved there and it is worth the trip to Eureka to see it. Some of our family (Gourley) still live there. Eureka is a trip back in time and is well worth visiting.

Jesse Knight

Click on the link above to read an interesting history of Jesse Knight

Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park

Camp Floyd is located by Fairfield , Utah, 25 miles southwest of Lehi on State Route 73. This former military post quartered the largest troop concentration in the United States from 1858 to 1861. About 400 buildings housed the 3,500 troops (Johnston's Army) sent West to suppress an assumed Mormon rebellion. The troops returned East in 1861 for Civil War duty. Only a cemetery and commissary building remain as silent evidence of turbulent Camp Floyd. The commissary building is now a visitors center. Nearby Stagecoach Inn was an overnight stop on the historic overland stage and Pony Express route. The two-story adobe and frame hotel has been restored with original period furnishings. We have no specific Morgan family history associated with Camp Floyd but it is an historically important place, and the drive along the West side of Utah lake is refreshingly different than the drive along the freeway on the East side. So, if you are touring historically interesting and important areas of this part of Utah you will want to visit Camp Floyd.

Grafton

Grafton, Utah, in Washington county, is located about two miles southwest of the town of Rockville on the south side of the nearby Virgin River. The west entrance to Zion National Park is only 4 miles to the east. The settlement was established in 1859 by Nathan C. Tenney and others from Virgin (A short way downriver from Grafton, Virgin was first settled by whites in 1857. The site is enclosed by red sandstone cliffs and had an early name of pocketville because the local Indian name meant a pocket or hole. The settlement soon took the name of the nearby Virgin River). The fertile Virgin River valley between Virgin and Grafton provided opportunity for the early settlers to grow cotton. However, Indian raids and continuous flooding discouraged many. Although Grafton thrived for some time, people began to move to safer places and by 1921 Grafton had become a ghost town. Inscriptions on headstones at the nearby cemetery give credence to the settlers suffering.

Grafton, being closer to St. George, is a good ways South of the areas in Utah that hold Morgan family history. However, it is one of the few places left where you can study the adobe building construction of the type Thomas Morgan used in his own house in Leamington. Two of the old adobe buildings at Grafton have been restored and they are the best examples of adobe construction I have ever seen. There are also some beautifully aged log buildings in Grafton. In addition, the Grafton Cemetery, with it's gravestones stating that the resident of the grave was killed by Indians, is a stark and lonely reminder of the hardships endured by early settlers in Utah. Historically, Grafton is an important graphic artifact if you are interesting in getting a feel for the difficulties early settlers faced in Utah. I highly recommend you visit Grafton.

-Idaho-Wyoming-

SHELTON CEMETERY


The Shelton Cemetery is located about 15 miles Northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho, on state highway 26. The cemetery can be accessed directly from highway 26, which passes right next to it. Watch for the cemetery on the North side of the highway. Be careful making this turnoff. Highway 26 is a high speed road and the turnoff into the Shelton cemetery requires that you be careful.

Our Morgan/Radford/Ryset/Ross amcestors are buried in the Southeast corner of the cemetery, immediately inside the gate. Examples of graves you will want to see there are the graves of Thomas Morgan and his wives Ann Watkins and Nancy Jane Radford; John Whitlock and Rachel Leah Radford; Edward (Ted) and Sarah West Morgan; Willard and Annie Morgan Moore; Frank and Priscilla Morgan Ryset; Daniel and Everal Morgan Radford, Frank and Mary Morgan Brown, Melvin and Mary Ellen Hadden Ross, and many others.

Be aware, however, that the information on gravestones is not always accurate. People in earlier times who had the responsibility to make up information to be put on gravestones often did not have access to records and sometimes had to rely on word of mouth for their information. Be aware that there are errors engraved on gravestones and that some of the information on Thomas Morgan's headstone is in error.

OTHER CEMETERIES

Some of our ancestors are also buried at various other cemeteries in the Idaho Falls, Idaho area. There is the old, and beautiful, Rose Hill Cemetery in Idaho Falls at 2355 Rollandet Street and the Fielding Memorial Cemetery at 4602 South Yellowstone Highway. Other cemeteries of interest are the Rigby Pioneer Cemetery near Rigby, Idaho, the Milo Cemetery near Rigby, and the Lewisville Cemetery near Lewisville.

JEFFERSON COUNTY MEMORIAL MUSEUM

This museum, in Rigby, is better than many much larger museums and is well worth the time and effort to visit.

HANNAH ELIZABETH MORGAN HADDEN GRAVE

Hannah Elizabeth Morgan Hadden died in, or soon after, childbirth while our ancestors were pioneering in Wyoming. She was buried there and left behind. The grave has a new headstone and it is rewarding to visit the site, both to see the grave and to see the country that our ancestors were trying to settle.

Driving directions. Proceed on Highway 26 out of Idaho Falls, go past Ririe and Swan Valley and on to Alpine, Wyoming. Then on toward Etna, Wyoming. Turn off .4 mile due north of Etna, Wyoming on highway 26/89. Turn West (which will be right if you are coming from Idaho) on Highway 111 (Jacknife Road). Travel .7 mile on Jacknife road then turn right (North) on Highway 109 (Roberts-Wolfley Road.

The gravesite is .2 mile on the left (west) side. About 50 feet South of the gravesite is a telephone pole with a green metal fence gate attached. The gravesite itself is enclosed by a welded steel pipe fence.