Leeds, Washington County, Utah
Leeds is a small community on I-15 about fifteen miles northeast of St. George, Utah. The town was built in a valley called Road Valley as it was a comfortable stopping place for freighters on long journeys. In 1866 when the Quail Creek dam was completed some of the settlers felt it would be easier to divert the water into Road Valley instead of Harrisburg two and a half miles to the south. One hundred and twenty acres was surveyed into lots in 1867and those who wanted to give up their holdings in Harrisburg could move into Road Valley. Some of these settlers did give up their holdings and moved north.
Richard Ashby and John S. Harris lived in tents that first winter. Richard Ashby built a cabin there in the spring, this being the first permanent dwelling there and later his daughter, Kate was the first baby born in the town. The town was organized on 1 December 1867 with the name of Bennington. The name was for Benjamin Stringham who was chosen as the presiding Elder. Other early settlers included Alma T. Angell, Solomon Angell, Silas Harris, William Stirling, John S. Adams, Elijah Thomas, Charles Connelly, and others.
In 1869 Bishop Stringham requested that the name of the town be changed to Leeds after Leeds, England where he had served as a missionary.
Most of the residents of Harrisburg eventually moved into Leeds. Through the years there were the usual mishaps that caused problems for the pioneers in the desert including drought and plagues of insects, etc. The early settlers lost a lot of their crops to grasshoppers but their vineyards were doing well and orchards were starting to produce when silver was discovered in the area. So when the nearby town of Silver Reef sprung up there was a ready market for their produce and fruit.
Leeds became a great place to live. It has made it through its ups and downs. There are still orchards and vineyards in Leeds but there are also retirees and commuters who work in more populated areas and return to their quiet homes each evening. In the 2000 U.S. Census there were 547 residents in Leeds. -CBA
LEEDS PIONEER INDEX
Saga of Three Towns - Harrisburg-Leeds-Silver Reef: this site includes sixty pages of the book
Note to all:
If you have histories of the Leeds 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 let me know.
Copyright © 2006 by Cynthia B. Alldredge