Virgin, Washington County, Utah
Note: Thanks to Gary Zabriskie, Associate Planner, Five County Association of Governments for providing access to this history from the Virgin Town, Utah General Plan and the permission to use the history on this website.
History of Virgin, Utah
Since the establishment of Virgin Town in the Territory of Utah, the cultural growth and development has been one of trials and tribulations. The post-Anasazi era has seen modern roads constructed and cultivation of the land, and the establishment of permanent residences creating a viable rural town in one of the most picturesque locations in the world.
Virgin Town was settled by a number of families from Cedar City in late 1858. Nephi Johnson, Seth Johnson, John M. Higbee, Anthony J. Stratton, Samuel Bradshaw and James W. Bay were sent to this area to settle a town on the Upper Virgin River. On December 6, 1858 they commenced building the road up and over what is known as the Johnson Twist. They drove their
wagons onto the site of Virgin on December 20, 1858. The town was laid out and marked in 1859. There were two ditches, one for culinary and one for irrigation. Both ditches were completed in April 1859. The people built log cabins for shelter using the cottonwood trees that grew along the Virgin River and North Creek.
The early settlers faced a great many hardships trying to establish small farms in the area. At best these were difficult times. There were floods, ditches going out and other similar hardships. Early years were filled with efforts to construct ditches in and around the town site for the watering of crops. About 70 acres were planted during the first year (1859). Crops grown in Virgin included cotton, corn, cane, wheat, alfalfa and grapes. They also grew a little tobacco.
In 1866 all the nearby settlements were requested by church and military authorities to fort up to protect themselves from the Indian. The town was never bothered by attack and it grew to a population of nearly 500 people.
The first oil field in Utah started in 1907 up along North Creek. It was producing oil up until the late 1960s.
The Town of Virgin was incorporated on April 18, 1929. During that same year, numerous community development improvements were made in the town including a piped water system and the electric lights.
The Town of Virgin is situated in a valley with to the south of Kolob
Mountain. Since the only access to Kolob Mountain and Reservoir from the
South is through the town, the Town has earned the nickname Gateway
to the Kolobs.
Virgin Cemetery Records: from Wesley W. Craig's Washington County Cemetery Index
Sariah Anna Johnson Eagar Workman: Life sketch of early Pioneer and Relief Society President of the town of Virgin.
Virgin, Utah Collection - Univ. of Utah: Panorama photo - view of Virgin in the 1890s.
Town of Virgin: Picture and text from www.surweb.org
Note to all:
If you have histories of the Virgin 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