The town of Enterprise is located in northwest Washington County on the south
rim of the Great Basin. It is about 40 miles north of St. George on State
Road 18. This town is approximately a mile high in elevation and is surrounded
on three sides by mountains. Enterprise is one of the few towns in Washington
County that still has an economy based on agriculture and farming.
Enterprise had its beginnings in a dream of Orson Huntsman and a few others. He filed on 320 acres of land where the town now lies. In 1891 he hired Isaac C. Macfarlane, the county surveyor, who with C.S. Fackrell's help laid out a townsite of 120 lots. The town was called Enterprise because of the daring nature of the enterprise that a handful of people were taking in building the reservoir on their own. Stock had been sold to dam the floodwaters of Little Pine Valley fourteen miles to the east at a natural dam site behind the Narrows of Little Pine Valley above Shoal Creek. The estimated cost of the dam and canal project was nearly $32,000. With this harnessed body of water they hoped to replace the gray sagebrush desert to the north with green fields. In July 1891 twenty of the stockholders met to choose their lots. Mr. Huntsman had the first choice then the other lots were numbered and each man drew a slip with a number on it out of a hat. Each man paid $2.50 toward the $9.00 purchase price of the lots. One man said, "It took years to pay for them there lots." Not all of the participants made permanent homes in Enterprise.
J.B. Morris (Ben) was the first settler to come in the fall of 1895. Leaving his wife and children living at the Meadows where she taught school, he began building the first home on lot 16 of the townsite. On April 1, 1896, his wife, Sarah Meeks Morris, came with their three-week old baby, Mary Jane, and sons, Hyrum and Bernard, and moved into the little cabin prepared by her husband. The Morris family were alone at first in Enterprise with just sagebrush, jackrabbits, coyotes, and rattlesnakes as companions. Their daughter, Margaret Deseret Morris, was the first child born in Enterprise.
William W. Hall was the first rancher to settle at Enterprise, he built a cedar log cabin and moved his family into it on April 6, 1896. He became an active leader in civic and church affairs in the area.
Next to come were Anson Perry Winsor and family from St. George, living with the Morris family while building their home and clearing the ground. Then Cyrus S. Fackrell and Elijah T. Adair came from Orderville. They pitched their tents in March 1895 and began work on the dam, their cabins, and clearing brush from their lots. Their families joined them three years later.
In the early fall of 1898 William H. Marshall, James Canfield, Nelson Terry, and Henry D. Holt came to town. Marshall had the equipment for brickmaking which was a great help to the area. James Canfield, his wife Tessie and four children also came that fall, spending the winter with the Morrises while building their brick home.
In the spring of 1899 John Z. Alger, Emil Barlocker, John Day Sr., and James E. Hall arrived to make their homes there. Alger came from a ranch south of Enterprise. Barlocker originally from Switzerland was originally a pioneer of Toquerville and New Harmony. John Day, his wife, Phylene, and children came from Old Castle above New Castle, he was the first merchant and postmaster. James Hall came from Washington hoping to escape the summer heat which had made him ill.
Enterprise is known for its wonderful gardens and flowers. The first settlers certainly began this tradition by bringing in trees and shrubs from Provo and carrying water from their wells to keep them alive. They also had to keep the rabbits away because the ate the bark and killed the trees. The women tended the gardens, chickens, etc. while their husbands worked on the dam, freighted, etc. Many times the women had to chase away coyotes who tried to get the chickens as they fed them or they had to kill rattlesnakes that sometimes even got into their homes.
Enterprise, like most others in the county, was settled by Mormon pioneers, so the leadership of the town and of the church went hand in hand at first. At first the pioneers met together on Sunday at a home to sing and pray and give thanks to the Lord. As people moved in the settlement was large enough to be a branch of the Hebron Ward and Bishop George A. Holt. Brother William Hall was chosen as presiding elder over the Enterprise Branch. A Sunday School was organized in 1898, Relief Society, YWMIA, YMMIA, and Primary followed by 1902. In 1898-99 a brick building was built to meet in and was called "The Young Men's Mutual Hall," this building was later known as the Relief Society Hall.
On November 17, 1902 there was an earthquake in the area. This caused a lot of destruction in the nearby settlement of Hebron, nearly all of the rock and brick buildings were damaged. This along with drought, discouragement, and other problems proved to be the undoing of the settlement of Hebron and upon recommendation of church officials the people sold their water stock to the Enterprise Reservoir and Canal Company and moved into Enterprise. Hebron became a ghost town at this time. On October 19, 1905 the Hebron ward and Enterprise branch were combined into the Enterprise ward with George A. Holt as bishop. By 1908 the settlement was home to about 100 families.
The capstone was placed on the dam on October 26, 1909 after 16 years. The town continued to grow at this time and a Ward Meeting House was begun in 1912, each family donated labor and money for the project. With the building of this new chapel and the reservoir finished, Enterprise became established. The reservoir has indeed exchanged the gray sagebrush with green fields of alfalfa, grain, and potatoes. The people of Enterprise are still reaping the abundant crops of the desert and many are descendants of those first hardy pioneers. -CBA
Early picture of Enterprise dam.
includes Enterprise/Hebron area account.
Note to all:
If you have histories of the Enterprise pioneers (on a website or that you
would like to have published on the web), other genealogy help for this town,
or know of related links please please let me know.
County UTGenWeb home page.
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