[ UTGenWeb ] [ Cache ] [ Towns ]HISTORY OF EARLY CLARKSTON by Larry D. Christiansen
The settlement of whites within Cache Valley began in 1856 with the establishment of Maughans Fort, later renamed Wellsville. By 1860 there was a "rush" to Cache Valley on the northern frontier of Mormon settlement making the place one of great activity in settlement. From the1856 beginning there came by 1860 to be settlements not only at Wellsville, but at Mendon, Paradise, Hyrum, Millville, Providence, Logan, Hyde Park, Smithfield, Richmond and Franklin. With these established the best lands in the valley had been taken, but still more land with enough water for irrigating crops was needed as more settlers were coming to Utah with many directed to the north. Initially forts were constructed at the first settlements, and a local militia formed to protect the settlers. In 1860 President Brigham Young visited the area where he had assigned Apostle Erza T. Benson to be in charge of the Mormon towns in the valley. Three years later in 1863 President Young was back in the valley, and much of his attention was to promote the exploration and expansion of the Mormon settlements into the adjacent areas. In a meeting in Logan in late August of 1863, he specifically noted that Bear Lake Valley to the east was to be occupied, and he directed that a company should be sent there in the fall. Accordingly a group of pioneers under the leadership of Apostle Charles C. Rich was dispatched to settle the Bear Lake country. They constructed a road from northern Cache Valley through Emigration Canyon and founded the first settlement at Paris. The following spring of 1864 three more communities were established at St. Charles, Liberty and Montpelier. When President Young visited the new area in May of 1864, he counseled: "When you start to build upon a block (brother Charles C. Rich please remember this), have the brethren build upon that block until every lot is occupied before you touch another, that if you are attacked by Indians, one scream will arouse the whole block." Some of this change from President Youngs usual call for forts at the Mormon frontier settlements was due to the belief that the Indian threat had diminished in the northern area. On January 29, 1863, U.S. troops under Colonel Patrick E. Conner had defeated the Indians in northern Cache Valley at the Battle of Bear River, now most commonly called the Bear River Massacre, which resulted in the death of over 300 natives depleting the northwest band of Shoshoni. An example of the change was reflected as the residents of Mendon, in the spring of 1864, broke up their fort and dragged the various log buildings that formed the fortification to new locations on assigned lots. Prior to 1864 all towns in Cache Valley had been on the eastern and southern side of Bear River. While the primary reasons for this pattern of settlement was the access to more and better wood and water, the safety of settlers west of the river was a consideration. But by 1863-1864 Apostle Ezra T. Benson, church leader of the Cache Valley Mormons, directed settlements in the area west of the river, and soon Clarkston, Weston and Oxford were founded.
In 1864 in the spirit, if not direct instruction, of President Youngs instructions at Logan in August of 1863 of expanding the borders of Mormon settlement, Apostle Benson choose Israel J. Clark to establish a new community west of the river. Brother Clark was a veteran of the Mormons Indian mission to Fort Lemhi in central Idaho which began in 1855, and ended with an Indian uprising and the mission being called home due to the Utah War. He was fluent in the Shoshoni language and prior to this call had been used as an Indian interpreter. Israel J. Clark gathered a pioneer band with one history listing the first settlers of Clarkston to be: Israel J. Clark, Jesse Clark, James J. Myler, Joseph L. Thompson, John Griffiths, Simon Smith, Oscar Myler, Andrew W. Heggie, Johannes Dahle, Gideon Harmison, Ole A. Jensen, Cyrus Clark, John Thompson and Andrew McCoombs. They established their settlement almost due west of Richmond on the opposite side of the valley adjacent to the highest part of what came to be called the Clarkston Mountains. The new settlement was named in honor of their leader. There were several canyons leading into the mountains from which a number of small creeks flowed along with several springs. Southeast of the town was an extensive meadow filled with native grasses. North of the settlement a series of small creeks and springs fed into a large creek named after the settlement. This creek flowed year around and fed into Bear River several miles to the south. While its supply of wood and water could not compete with the supplies from the eastern Wasatch Mountains, Clarkston possessed the best of the area west of Bear River. Due to some low lying hills half way between the new town site and the river to the east, the area was almost a small valley within the larger Cache Valley.
It remains unclear as to whether the first year they planted more than garden areas as most of their efforts were in constructing places to live, cutting the high grass for hay for their animals and digging ditches to direct the water to their garden plots. Most of the first homes were dugouts with wooden or canvas entrances and homemade furniture pieces. A manually powered saw mill involving two men, one on an elevated frame and one in a pit, used a cross-saw to cut logs into lumber. Approximately twelve families remained in Clarkston for the first winter which was severe. In the spring of 1865 new settlers arrived and ground was broken for crops beyond garden items. The settlers were allotted land by Presiding Elder Israel J. Clark at ten acres for a family and five acres for single men. The expansion of farming land required that the land be plowed and prepared for the crops, and then diversion ditches had to be constructed to carry water to the planted crops for the concept of dry farming was still over a decade away. Grasshoppers came and plagued the residents of Clarkston for the first time and continued as a problem through 1872. Log houses began to replace the dugouts and leantos, and in the fall a larger log building was built to serve as church meeting house and school house.
While the eastern communities in Cache Valley had experienced some Indian troubles and scares in 1864 and 1865, Mendon and Clarkston were peaceful until the fall of 1865 when Clarkston had its first Indian difficulty. A Shoshoni band put in an appearance and served notice that the land west of Bear River was theirs, and demanded payments for the whites use of this area. In 1866 the Indians returned and pitched their lodgings on City Creek. The Shoshoni demanded beef and flour and gave the appearance of staying in the area to collect a rent of food for some time. The settlers responded by following the Mormon admonition that it was better to feed the Indians than fight them. But after a while the Indians demands overtaxed the settlers ability to provide. The residents of Clarkston were advised to abandon their settlement and temporarily remove to Smithfield. They did so, and in crossing Bear River a young son of Joseph Godfrey drown. Thereafter for the remainder of the farming season, a group traveled back to Clarkston to farm their land. When the whites withdrew the Shoshoni left as well. The time spent travelling to and from their farms to their protected residence in Smithfield was too much to bear more than one season. So the settlers chose between complete abandonment of Clarkston or fortifying it. Mendon and other Cache Valley town also experience a resurgence of Indian hostility. A diarist from Mendon expressed the view that the Indians were worked up and bent on revenge for the severe chastisement they had experienced at the Battle of Bear River a little over three years earlier. Mendon responded to the threat by the residents giving up some land and water claims to encourage more settlers to strength their town, and by starting construction of a rock defensive wall around their meeting house. They worked on the rock wall for three weeks then went to haying and then harvesting, and never resumed the work on the wall.
The response of the Clarkston settlers was to return to their village in the spring of 1867 with a determination to counter the Indians intimidation and demands. They turned what was left of their town into Clarkston Fort. They built their homes on both sides of a street running east and west for two blocks. The backs of the houses plus wooden fences or barriers and gates formed their fortification. A diarist from Mendon recorded that the small settlements of Clarkston, Weston and Oxford had been abandoned with the residents finding temporary quarters in Smithfield, Richmond and Franklin. He dates this for the year of 1867, but the relocation began in 1866 and went through to the spring of 1867. In 1868 Clarkston organized a military company consisting of two platoons of infantry, a horse company and the Silver Greys from the older citizens for protection. After the spring of 1867 neither the fort nor military company was really necessary as the Indian presence all but disappeared with the Indian agents persuading many to return to the reservations they had been assign to, and the Shoshoni band with no reservation being too small to cause much trouble even if they wanted to do mischief. The people resided in their fort until 1869.
In the meantime in the spring of 1867 the leaders of the Cache Valley area decided that Israel J. Clarks services as Indian interpreter were more needed than his work as presiding elder at Clarkston. He was released and his son Jesse Clark presided over the Church group until fall. In the fall the Clarkston Ward was organized, and William F. Littlewood (a decade later his name was changed to Rigby) was called out of Wellsville to be the first bishop of Clarkston. Littlewood was a Seventy and was not formally ordain as a bishop for several years. Nothing should be made of this as it was a common practice at the time. William Hyde, the Mormon Battalion veteran, was called as bishop of Hyde Park in 1860 and served in that capacity, but was not formally ordained a bishop until October of 1872. Bishop Littlewood served without counselors. Henry Stokes became the ward secretary and when the Sunday School was organized on November 27, 1867 he served as superintendent plus he was engaged to teach in the community school for the upcoming winter quarter. While not booming the new community was putting forth much effort to improve their lot in life. In January of 1868 the town agreed to build a public fence from Birch Creek to the extreme southern precinct line to protect their crop from animals wandering into cultivated areas and facilitate the pasturing of stock. Clarkston had a team of fence viewers to check both public and private fences, and hired stock tenders to keep the animals in the proper grazing areas and protect them from eating poisonous plants. The meadow lands were certainly one of Clarkstons major assets. The precinct established an estray pound with a keeper to care for it and stray animals placed there. The community had a justice of the peace and a constable to care for the public needs. A continuing problem from the previous year was the hoards of grasshoppers which ate the grain and anything green. The residents fought with all the means they could think of from fasting and prayer to destroying the pests in personal combat by men, women and children. In August of 1868 the Relief Society was organized, and by December the school trustees had arranged for Clarkston to have school for several quarters each year. Plus Bishop Littlewood contracted to do some work for the railroad and employed several Clarkston men in this work.
However, Clarkston did have some problems. It experienced long winters with much snow which with its position right next to the mountains retained the snow longer than most places they were acquainted with. The Clarkston Fort was highly unsatisfactory both in arrangement and location and experienced repeated flooding. Still in July of 1868, Bishop Littlewood was supported in his proposal to have more land surveyed to make land available for new settlers to build up and "strengthen this place." In late November the community began repairing the school house, and in December they voted a tax of 1% on all taxable property for the purpose of making the school ready for winter. All the land owners in attendance favored the measure except a "Brother Godfrey" who objected to the tax. Beginning the first of December, Franklin W. Young, a nephew of President Young, along with Henry Stokes and Andrew W. Heggie petitioned for a mail route and post office for their town. While waiting for the county to establish these facilities, the communities hired Thomas Beck to carry the mail. He received one-half bushel of wheat for each of his mail trips.
Then from January 3, 1869 to late February of 1869, there were no entries in the Clarkston church records to explain what happened next. Perhaps some of the silence can be explained with Bishop Littlewoods employing many of the towns men in working in building the railroad, so with the bishop away little or no church activities were either held or recorded. Then of February 28, 1869, Bishop Wm. F. Littlewood presided at a meeting held at the present site of Newton, where the men of Clarkston discussed the possibility of moving from Clarkston to the new location. Those in favor of moving made note of the fact that in the spring there was usually 29 inches of snow at Clarkston Fort while the area under consideration was free of snow and beginning to turn green. The vote was 29 to 3 in favor of moving to the new location. On March 9, 1869, another meeting was held on the proposed site for the new town. Those in attendance had agreed to move to the new place. The Bishop was directed to lay out the town site to consist of sixteen ten acre blocks, each containing eight 1 ¼ acre lots. The following Monday James H. Martineau, the county surveyor, commenced surveying. It took him three weeks to finish. He surveyed the townsite, and then a number of five acre lots on the North, and ten acre lots in the South field with five acre lots along the meadow land on the north side of Bear River.
The Clarkston Ward records resume with a summary of what had transpired in the previous two weeks in minutes dated March 14, 1869, which stated: "President Peter Maughan and Bishop W. B. Preston had been over and fixed upon a new location for Clarkston city situated about 5 miles South of the present city and it was also determined that the new location shall be called Newton. Bishop W. B. Preston gave it the new name." The second and third leading Church authorities in Cache Valley surely with the concurrence of Apostle Benson (who would die within six months) decided that the settlement of Clarkston should be relocated to a new site and given a new name. The ward minutes concluded with a land regulation that would affect the relocation as well as provide an inducement to move. "It was determined that all brethren who shall give up ten acres in the old survey shall receive Fifteen in the new survey viz. Five in the North Field and ten in the South Field, and that those brethren who shall give up Fifteen acres in the old survey shall receive Twenty five acres in the new survey viz. Five acres in the North Field and Twenty acres in the South Field.
"Resolved that we give up our claims to the water in the old survey to the extent that it may be required in the New Survey and that in case that there should be a surplus of water it shall be first applied in the old survey. Moved, Seconded and carried unanimously.
William F. Littlewood, Bishop
Henry Stokes, clerk"
While all appeared on the surface to be going well with the relocation of the settlement there was dissent about the situation. At the February 28th meeting a vote had been called for and three men voted against moving the town. But even after the presiding authorities in Cache Valley had made the decision and been supported by the vast majority that Clarkston be relocated there were a "few" who fought the idea. In came to a head on May 17th at a church meeting. Bishop Littlewood read before the meeting a letter he had received from "some few" of the Clarkston brethren concerning the projected move. The Bishop called upon these men to speak their feelings and designs in writing this type of letter which the Bishop said he felt greatly insulted by them. According the four brethren involved, George Davis, Simeon Smith, Andrew W. Heggie and John Godfrey, spoke to the meeting and acknowledged they had written or caused to be written the letter in question. They stated that they had not intended to insult the bishop but were merely sending it as a petition or request that they would not be required to move from Clarkston where they were anxious to remain. The church minutes explain the next actions in the meeting. "Bishop W. F. Littlewood said that he had submitted the letter to the inspection of Presidents E. T. Benson & Peter Maughan, and that they both disapproved of it and were very much displeased with it and with the brethren who had sent it. He therefore required that Brother George Davis, Simeon Smith, Andrew W. Heggie and John Godfrey make a public confession and acknowledgement and ask forgiveness for the wrong they have done at the Sacrament Meeting on Sunday week next." The four brethren preferred not to wait and asked "to make the matter right with the Bishop and people. Accordingly they asked forgiveness." It was moved, seconded and carried unanimously that they all be forgiven. Forgiven probably, forgotten and settled only for the short term. If the entire settlement had moved in the spring or early summer of 1869, probably the entire community would have relocated, but stretched out over two years there was time enough for the dissenters to revive and do their work counter to the instructions of their leaders from Apostle Benson and his assistants to Bishop Littlewood. What may be considered the American way was not the Mormon way especially in 1869-1870 period.
The Bishop summarized the relocation with these words, "It was intended to move the entire Clarkston settlement on to the new site and reserve the meadow lands in the immediate neighborhood of Clarkston for pasture and to raise fall grain, also to try dry farming. The several individual water rights were to be diverted to the land lying in and about the new townsite." With this plan the new community would have the best of both locations and total control of the limited water in their watershed. The Clarkston area was to be reserved as a communal area not owned by individuals.
In the spring of 1869 a group of settlers moved down to the site of the new community and began building their homes, prepared and planted gardens on the town lots assigned to them and perhaps planted a few acres of other crops on ground which could be irrigated. Both these first settlers and those remaining at the established base at Clarkston were to work to accomplish a coordinated gradual relocation of all to Newton by the summer of 1870. The Clarkston group had men go down to Newton on May 31st to begin to make the main water ditch, and they returned on June 10 to finish the work on the main water ditch. On the latter occasion some men also went and examined all the known springs in the precinct and worked them to produce the maximum flow of water. Three days later the Clarkston group resolved to use the water from City Creek to water the south fields in their area for one week, and to allow two streams of water to go down to Newton via the Clarkston Creek to the main water ditch at Newton then on the fields planted and into town onto the garden plots. By June 21 the relocation appears to be on schedule with all going well, and on this day Bishop Littlewood spoke to the group in Clarkston and concentrated his remarks on the upcoming move of the remaining people in Clarkston. On October 31st Bishop Littlewood called on the Clarkston group to go down to Newton and assist in digging a mill race for a water powered saw mill. A "great number" of the brethren agreed to go down and do this. Another group of men were directed to dig a new channel for the Clarkston water that would reduce the waste of water especially when freshet produced flooding which spoiled some hay. All this was for the purpose of allowing more water to move towards Newton. The group in Clarkston also on this date passed two school taxes-one for 1869 to be used locally and the other for 1870 to provide the means to build a schoolhouse in Newton in that year. Again in Clarkston a committee was appointed as the "Newton Building Committee for the Building of the Newton School House" composed of Franklin W. Young, Josiah Barker, Wm. Bell, James Myler and Hyrum Curtis. They recommended that a rock schoolhouse be built at the new town site.
In one regard much effort was expended with little results and that was with the sawmill. It was located near the small slough some five blocks west of the Clarkston Creek at the Newton site. But even with a mill dam and reworked mill race there was not enough water and fall in what water they had to effectively operate it. When the original owners of the mill wanted to sell out the sawmill they had brought from Wellsville, the mill was purchased and made part of the co-operative store at Clarkston which was established in May of 1869. Still the mill was not profitable nor of benefit to the people. In 1871 the Clarkston people sold the mill and blamed it for the partial failure of their Co-op store. But up to this point all include the calculated risk of the sawmill was in accordance with the plan of relocation with little or no variance.
The first settlers to Newton had been given town lots but apparently all land in the fields north and south of the townsite was reserved for distribution by lottery open at the same time to all who qualified for land. On November 6th the land in the Newton survey was announced to be distributed by ballots being drawn. Those getting the first ballot were to select their land on Saturday the 13th, while those on the second ballot would choose on the following Tuesday, and the remainder would have their turn on Wednesday and Thursday of the same week. In the meantime those seeking land placed their applications with the bishop prior to the drawing of ballots. On November 13th, Bishop Littlewood informed the people that the Newton survey upon being examined did not contain enough good land to supply all of the applicants who had given their name and requirements to the bishop. It was decided that no one would be allowed to hold more than 25 acres of farming land in the new survey. Still this was fully in accordance with the land regulation proposed by Church authorities Maughan and Preston back on March 14th, and it was an increase over the holding limits at Clarkston.
During this period when there were a group of settlers in Newton and another in Clarkston, the Newton group held religious services and at least a teachers quorum meetings and reported to the bishop and Teachers Quorum in Clarkston. Those early meetings in Newton were held in homes. But the relocation layout had plans to have a church meeting facility in Newton. On February 16, 1870 the group in Clarkston decided to use all back labor due on the canyon road for 1868 and 1869 plus that for 1870 used in the construction of a new meeting house in Newton. On the same date the final major relocation project was subscribed. The brethren in both groups decided to cultivate the Newton South Field in a cooperative farm. A committee was selected to pick the land to be so farmed, and Bishop Littlewood and his clerk, Henry Stokes, met with both groups and took the names of those wishing to cultivate this land cooperatively. The names taken were recorded in the Clarkston Ward minutes for the "Newton Co-op Farm" which were as follows:
Bp. Littlewood - 5 acres Jorges Olsen - 5 acres Joseph Myler - 2 acres
Henry Stokes - 10 " Michael Paulsen - 5 " Wm. Bell - 2 "
Ole Anderson - 10 " Griffin - 15 " Wm. Sparks - 5 "
Thompson - 5 " Geo. Sparks - 4 " Anderson - 5 "
Thompson - 10 " Thomas Godfrey - 5 " Jensen - 5 "
Kasper Loosley - 10 " C.O. Kemster - 2 " Stephen Catt - 2 "
Andrew Quigley - 5 " Lars Rasmussen - 15 " Amos Clark - 5 "
Peter Benson - 5 " A. W. Heggie - 5 " Wm. Ricks - 10 "
F. W. Young - 20 " Simeon Smith - 10 " __[blank]____ - 10 "
A. J. Atkinson - 5 " John Dahle - 15 " Jenkings - 5 "
J. Barker - 10 " Ulrich Looseley - 8 " Nelson - 2 "
J. J. Dunn - 10 " Oscar Myler - 2 " Bates - 5 "
On May 29, 1870, the group at Clarkston accepted the decision of Bishop Littlewood and the brethren in Newton in regard to expenses of repairing the water ditch caused by "the negligence of the Sawyer." While the church minutes do not give the details it probably was a case in which the sawmill operators attempted to direct the irrigation water sent to Newton over to their sawing operation and a miscue caused damage to the water ditch. Both groups bore the expense of repairing the damage as the relocation effort was in its final stage, and in according with their set goal there were two groups separated by geography but supposedly one in purpose.
During the late spring of 1870 President Brigham Young traveled as was his custom among the northern settlements giving encouragement and instruction. In the course of his travels he arrived in Newton on June 8th and held a meeting in a bowery constructed for the occasion. His party included general authorities Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and John Taylor. Apostle Woodruff recorded in his journal that the instructions given at Newton were similar to those given the Saints in other communities. At this meeting in Newton only Brothers Snow and Taylor spoke to the assembled people, and their remarks did not concern the relocation or division of the Clarkston settlement. The Cache Valley authorities and the people living in Newton knew of no problem with the plans set in motion some fifteen months earlier. Then President Young and his party traveled to Clarkston and again met in another bowery built for this visit. The settlers of Clarkston provided a fine meal for their guests, but some of the Clarkston people had more to give the President. In an apparent surprise move some of those discontented with the relocation plans put their case to President Young, and while probably not saying so with words they went counter to the decisions of leaders of the Church in Cache Valley and their bishop. The unanimity and agreements of the past year was replaced with pleadings that they could remain in Clarkston. President Young gave those who did not want to relocate "permission" to remain where they were living. He expressed the belief that the area could support both settlements. He also advised the Clarkston people to move their settlement to higher ground. When the meeting was over the President and his party had to change their route and backtrack to Newton where a second meeting was now necessary.
At the second meeting in Newton President Young spoke here for the first time and explained what he had granted at Clarkston. He reaffirmed his belief in regard to the two communities. President Young and his party spent the night in Newton, and early the next morning they continued their journey northward. No one could guess how things would turn out now or who and how many would go where. The opposition of a "few" had worked quietly this time with no letters to the bishop or word beyond their cabal, and there is no historical information concerning how many voiced initial opposition to moving. But once it became apparent that some would stay, others quickly joined for various reasons. Most telling was that now someone would hold water rights between the source and Newton fields. Transferring all the water down to Newton was one thing, but having others claiming some of these water was extremely troubling. This became, with the good reason, the prime meadow lands south of Clarkston and some holding possessions which they believed were better than they could obtain in Newton.
Some writers have stated that President Youngs Clarkston visit has become "legend." It has indeed reached that level even to distorting the trip into a mission to resolve the dispute. President Young nor any other Church leader in the valley knew the secret designs of the dissenters until they sprung their objections to moving on President Young. There was also no bickering over which community should have the name of "Clarkston." Once Bishop W. B. Preston, acting as presiding bishop of Cache Valley as he would later become the presiding bishop of the Church, named "Newton" with that spelling there was no question or discussion over the name, not even the "Old Town" or "New Town" which crept into second and third generation histories of the two communities. Nor is there the slightest indication that President Young even mentioned the notion of a storage reservoir much less selected a site for one. If those recording the events of the trip in the northern settlements could comment on the little bugs in the water of a well just beyond the Little Mountain, they surely would have picked up on a revolutionary concept of a storage reservoir and preserved it for history. This "legend" has picked up must excess baggage through the generations of retelling and as a result like most legends is filled with myths.
While many different scenarios can be built up about the result of this resolution of the dispute between those wanted the relocation of the whole community and those who wanting to do their thing and stay where they wanted, here are some basic facts. The local Cache Valley church leaders had been blindsided, and President Youngs response, however inspired, came without a thorough knowledge of what had occurred previously. The end result was there would be a town at Clarkston and the new settlement at Newton. The success of the latter community would be made much more difficult with the division. When the waters of Clarkston Creek were divided the new communitys share would drop to one-fourth of the water, which with the distance it had to travel with excessive losses from being allowed to run the long distance for a short time then turned off, and this repeated over and over, was far too little to exist. If in 1868 or 1869 a proposal had been made to relocate a new community five miles southeast with say an equal split of the limited water of Clarkston Creek and with the old community located between the water source and the ultimate destination, it would have been rejected without question by everyone. There never would have been a new town breaking off from the old town. The new community came only after a relocation plan had been short circuited in its final stages, and after proceeding almost sixteen months on a plan to relocate the total community and transfer total control of all the water plus reserve the Clarkston meadowland for their grazing. After the abrupt change, the two settlements went their separate ways. But if two things, not readily conceived even with inspiration in 1870, had not transpired the lot of both communities would have proven much more problematic than they were, and one of them would not have survived.. Those two consequential elements were a storage reservoir and the development of dry farming.
Now the decision had been made choices had to be made. Most of those who had not relocated already to the new community decided to stay where they were. A few who had moved to Newton went back to Clarkston. An even small number went through with their commitment and moved to the new community. In this number was the family of Bishop William F. Littlewood. During 1869 and into 1870 he had remained in Clarkston with the majority of his congregation. Preparatory to moving he began construction at the new site of a story and a half log home that was unusual large for its time being 18 feet by 54 feet. The house was finished except for laying the hearth in front of the new chimney, and the mason wanted to see that the chimney would draw. The mason built a fire to perform this check but the fire caught in the dry grass under the house, and the house was destroyed on September 25, 1870. Two days later the Bishop commenced building a rock house in Newton, but in the meantime he and his family had to reside in Clarkston. In the meantime Bishop Littlewood was released as bishop on July 10, 1870, and Simeon Smith was called as the new bishop of Clarkston.
President Youngs visit occurred on a Wednesday, and on the following Sunday, June 12th, at a business meeting at church in Clarkston, Bishop Littlewood discussed the visit of President Young and the giving of "permission" to remain in Clarkston for those so desiring it. The Bishop explained the ramifications of President Youngs advising the community to move to higher ground. Thereafter a committee was appointed to locate the new part of the town and survey out what lots were required for the towns needs. The Cache County Surveyor, James H. Martineau, surveyed the new town site and platted it. The old settlers relocated to their new lots beginning in the latter half of 1870 and finished the moving the following year. [for names, see households 1870 Census, Clarkston, Utah]
Then came the hard part of the division-the allotment of the water. The problem came early for the life of crops and gardens depended on water. The Clarkston Ward records the initial conflict over water arose in August, and on the 23rd of the month Bishops Smith and Littlewood met to try and settle the dispute. They agreed to a tentative settlement subject to the approval or disapproval of the brethren of Clarkston. Using the claimed shares to the waters in the Clarkston creeks prior to the division of the two towns, they decided that those that had moved to Newton owned one-third of the water with Clarkston people having the rest. When some of the settlers to Newton returned to Clarkston the ratio quickly changed to give Clarkston three-fourths of the water. This meant that Newtons share was turned down to them less than two days a week with much of the water lost to evaporation and the thirsty ground under the creek bed and water ditches before it could be turned into the fields to water the crops. The two communities fought for every drop of water they thought was theirs, and the result has been a situation of a hundred year war over water between Newton and Clarkston. In spite of the pleadings of stake leaders to settle the matter peacefully without the courts, the issue went to court time and time again, perhaps a fitting corollary to the initial dispute between the two towns.
In and about the time the fort at Clarkston was abandoned and the people built their homes on their individual lots there was a brief Indian scare, more imaginary than real. It came about when a little girl in Mendon disappeared in the spring of 1869, and to this day it is not known if she drown in a mill pond, taken by a very small group of Indians or what. When her body was never located it was easy to assume the Indians were back to kidnapping children again. This coupled with the decimated band of Shoshoni under Chief Sagwich, with no assigned reservation, wandering around primarily in Box Elder County from Brigham City and Corinne and up along the mountains towards Malad trying to find themselves in the new order of things prior to their attempts to farm and conversion to the Mormon Church. The spotting of a wandering Indian or two plus the assumed kidnapping had the Clarkston people checking their guns and ammunition. But the time of any Indian menace had gone by, and the only large group of Indians to visit Cache Valley came in April of 1871. Nearly two hundred Shoshoni came in their finest array to attend the funeral of their old friend, Peter Maughan, who had done more than anyone else in Cache Valley to try and keep the best relationship between the white and red races.
Clarkston Ward Historical Record Book "A" (In the LDS Church Archives Salt Lake City, Ut.), pp. 25-62.
William F. Rigby, "Excerpts from the Diary of William F. Rigby," Our Pioneer Heritage IV, pp. 255-256.
Supplemental materials from:
Joel E. Ricks, Forms and Methods of Early Mormon Settlement in Utah and the Surrounding Regions 1847-1877. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1964), pp. 93-99.
Isaac Sorensen, History of Mendon: A Pioneer Chronicle of the Mormon Settlement (Utah State Historical Society, 1988), pp.19-25, 41, 45.
Ben J. and Eunice P. Ravsten, History of Clarkston: The Granary of Cache Valley 1864-1964 (Copyrighted by the Ravstens in 1966), pp. 1-16.
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