Upper Kanab


The first arrivals were Latter-day Saints who came from different parts of the country seeking homes in southern Utah.  But if they had hoped to find a southern climate comparable to that in Utah's Dixie, their neighbor to the southwest, they were sorely disappointed, for the area lies at an altitude of seven thousand feet.

It was to this high valley that Lorenzo Wesley Roundy came in 1865, with other families from the north.  They did not stop at what would be the Alton site, but continued toward the northeast some three miles, to settle on the waters of upper Kanab Creek.  Upper Kanab was a term that would soon designate their settlement.

But the settlers' stay in this valley was to be short.  Word came in the spring of 1866 that all settlers who had located at Upper Kanab were called by Apostle Erastus Snow to move to Berryville and Winsor (the present communities of Glendale and Mount Carmel) to strengthen those settlements. Lorenzo never returned to Upper Kanab, but made his home in Kanarraville.

Upper Kanab remained abandoned until May of 1872 when Lorenzo's nephew, Byron Roundy, his young wife, Matilda Ann, and baby moved into one of the cabins.  Unable to interest others in joining them, the little family stayed throughout the winter as the sole inhabitants of this winter wonderland.

Graham Duncan Macdonald, sent to be bookkeeper for the mill, acquired land near it.  In 1875 he married Annie Gardner of St. George and they became pioneers of Ranch, Utah, some five or six miles southwest of Alton.

All mail for Upper Kanab and Sink Valley was addressed to Ranch, Utah, and held at Macdonald's until there was a chance to send it on, or until someone was sent to pick it up and distribute it.

As time passed, a cattle company known as the Canaan Cooperative Stock Company, with headquarters in St. George, moved into the valley and bought up most of the claims in Upper Kanab. Feeling that they were permanently settled, the Roundy brothers refused to sell.

In the spring of 1882, the David Seegmiller and Edwin D. Woolley families moved into the Upper Kanab area, the latter having been called to take charge of the Church ranch. Edwin's daughter, Mary Woolley, has left a description of their surroundings:

This lovely valley at the head of the Rio Virgin, with its two Levanger Lakes, its Macdonald Lake mirroring the delightful scenery along their banks, was referred to as "over to the mill."  Two public buildings were eventually built there.  One, a schoolhouse which also served as a church, was located at the forks of the road.  The other, somewhat larger, was the recreation hall and was located in a cove north of the Macdonald Lake.  Many a hoe-down took place there with Hyrum Roundy playing the violin, Rube Jolley second violin, John Seaman the bass fiddle and Graham Macdonald the drums. Dances lasted until daylight. The children all went along, being bundled onto the benches when they got sleepy.

[Source: An Enduring Legacy, Vol. 6]

[Deseret News, Vol. XX, No. 19, June 4, 1871, p. 9] The southern Utah Co-operative Stock Herd Co. intend to establish a dairy at Upper Kanab, which place I consider to be unsurpassed in this or any other country for that business." -- J. B. Roper

Dilworth Wooley - oral history

Last Updated: 06.06.2015