"Anderson's Junction" Area
Washington County, Utah
Located about three miles north of Toquerville and a few miles south of Pintura, Anderson's Ranch (now called Anderson's Junction) was a natural stopping place on the road for weary travelers. Escalante noted camping near there 100 years before the pioneers came to the area. Because its location was on the junction between the Toquerville road (which now leads to Zion National Park) and the highway along the Black Ridge to Cedar City, Anderson's ranch received a steady flow of visitors. President Warren G. Harding stopped there, as did the Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden.
Peter Anderson and and his wife, were emigrants from Denmark. They were first pioneered in Salina and Nephi and then settled in Bellevue in 1868, where six children were born to them. When Peter and his sons wanted more land, they moved a few miles south to Echo Farm in 1884 near the junction of the Toquerville and Cedar City road. They took up a homestead of 160 acres and lived in a dugout the first winter. (Peter's wife later wrote, "During those early pioneer years and while homesteading Anderson's Ranch, no one can picture the hardships, misery, suffering and loneliness I experienced. Always my heart yearned to run away. . .to run away to the ease, comfort and luxury of my home in the old country.") The next summer the family camped at the foot of Pine Valley Mountain where they raised a garden and made butter and cheese to ship north. They also began to dig a canal to their ranch.Their canal is an engineering genius. It gradually descends for six miles to the valley floor where it enters a pond that holds it for irrigation purposes. The family had to constantly inspect the ditch shovel in hand for breaks and keep it clean. A hike along the ditch today brings respect for the genius of this man and his family.
Another interesting story is told of Peter Anderson in a Silver Reef History. "...there was a wild time in the hurdy house or dance hall, when a woman, crazed by drink, shot the proprietor, who died the following morning. His money could not be found. The women who frequented this notorious dance hall departed and the building was occupied as a store until James N. Louder moved his goods to Beaver and sold the building to Peter Anderson, who was developing a ranch near Toquerville. When Anderson was removing the mopboard from the south wall be found a leather sack containing about $2,000 in gold coin. This he wisely spent, as travelers to the south see as they linger at an oasis in the desert."
According to the online Toquerville History listed below: "Peter built a large camp house by the side of the road with a large fireplace that warmly welcomed all that came by. His Granddaughter, Mary Naegle, said: 'Theirs was truly a house by the side of the road, a haven of rest to passers-by, Grandfather invited people in for good meals, fed their horses, and added a bundle of hay to help them on their way. Furthermore, Grandfather, inventive and resourceful, fixed their broken-down wagons and carriages in his blacksmith shop. Pumping the bellows for him was both work-and-fun for me. Their table was always loaded with guests and good food which was hard on the women folks.'"
The Anderson ranch site was a natural trail crossing that also often brought Indians. Once a large group of Navajos on horseback was reported. The children were alarmed and ran to hide. They jumped in a dugout and hid under some sacks of grain. Their father was busy trying to keep the Indians from stealing and did not notice one poking around in the grain sacks. When the Indian lifted the sack that protected the little ones, they screamed. He looked at them a long time and then said "Boo." He then chuckled and turned away.
In the days before you could travel from St. George to Cedar City in less than an hour Anderson's Junction provided a nice stopping place along the way. As late as 1917 when Milne truckline was getting its start Arvel Milne tells of traveling with his father in their old Garford truck with hard rubber tires, a grub box, a single spring, and a bedroll attached to the side of the truck. It was hooked up so the spring would swing down perpendicular to the ground and be held onto the truck siding at right angles. They would drive to Anderson Ranch the first night and sleep on the spring. Then they would drive on to Cedar City and west to Lund the second day, get their load and return to St. George and Santa Clara the third and fourth days.
Although we barely notice it as we whiz by at 70 mph in our air-conditioned or heated cars, Anderson's Junction was a great boon to travelers in days gone by. -CBA
A Sketch of the Life of Peter Anderson (1840-1921) - He and his wife below are the founders of Anderson Junction
Note to all:
If you have histories of the pioneers of Anderson's Ranch area (on a website
or that you would like to have published on the web), other genealogy help
for this area, or know of related links please let me know.
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