Ghost Towns:

Heberville, Washington County, Utah


Heberville was a short-lived experimental community of pioneers sent to the Dixie area to further experiment with the growing of cotton in the Dixie area. Cotton had been grown successfully at both Santa Clara and Washington and the church authorities felt that further tests were needed before they sent a large colonizing group to the area. Joseph Horne led this company of men came in January of 1858 stopping at Harmony on their way south. John D. Lee thought the best place to farm was where the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers came together but the company felt less labor would be needed if they cultivate the valley just south of the junction. The men were able to build a dam of gravel and brush seventy feet long and ten to fifteen feet high across the Virgin River to get irrigation water. They also built a canal from there. The dam was finished in March and by April 10 they had cleared enough land to plant peas, potatoes, and other garden crops and set out 400 peach trees. The local Indians were not a problem to them; they were friendly and helped to build the dam and the settlers helped the Indians get irrigation water about six miles further downstream.The settlers built a log house 16 by 27 feet. They planted cotton in May with seed obtained from the settlers in Santa Clara and Washington. They later planted sugar cane and corn.

The men at the cotton experiment farm had their share of troubles: their dam washed out and they had to rebuild it further upstream, they didn't have drinking water and what they had made them ill. The men stuck out the season though and once again proved that cotton would grow to maturity in the longer, warmer growing season in the Virgin River basin. They returned to Salt Lake with 575 pounds of ginned cotton and 160 gallons of molasses. With the cost of the dams and canal building the cotton the first year cost $3.40 a pound.

Superintendant Horne returned for a second year in 1859. This year proved harder than the one before with rains washing out their ditches and the men contacting malaria. But by the end of the season the cotton cost $1.90 a pound. This was still too high but it was felt that with permanent settlers the production price would go down.

In 1861 most of the settlement of Heberville had been washed away or covered with silt by the flooding river. The land was resurveyed and farmed again in the middle 1860s but the high cost of irrigation water finally caused the demise of the settlement and the land was abandoned in 1867 and the pioneers farmed closer to their community to St. George.

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Heberville Pioneer Index

Related links:


Note to all:

If you have histories of the pioneers of Heberville (on a website or that you would like to have published on the web), other genealogy help for these towns, or know of related links please let me know.
--Cindy Alldredge



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Copyright © 2006 by Cynthia B. Alldredge