Shunesburg, Washington County, Utah

Shonesburg/Shunesburg and Northop,
Washington County, Utah


Shonesburg was located on the east fork of the Virgin River at the mouth of Parunumeap Canyon. The town of Northop was also located in this area.

The residents of the town tended to call it Shonesburg in their histories but it also seems to be about equally called Shunesburg. Other names it was known by were Shuensburg and Shirensburg.

Oliver DeMille, George Petty, Hyrum Stevens, Alma Millett, Hardin Whitlock and Charles Clapper, their wives and children, left Sanpete County in the fall of 1861 to answer President Brigham Young's call to southern Utah. Oliver DeMille purchased the land from an old Paiute Indian chief named Shones (or Shunes) and gave the name Shonesburg to the settlement. The pioneers built dams and tried to tame the unpredictable Virgin River but it was 1865 before they finally had a good harvest of cane, corn, and cotton. In 1866/1867 the settlement was abandoned because of Indian troubles in the area, but in 1868 some of the original settlers returned. Over the years as the flooding of the river washed away farmland the settlers moved on (mostly to Rockville.) By 1897 there were no longer enough children to hold a school. By the year 1900 only Oliver DeMille was left and even he moved to Rockville in 1902. The little settlement of Shonesburg is no more and very little is left to show that for forty years people had worked and toiled there trying to tame the land and river. All that's left are a rock house, a few chimneys, and a derelict cemetery. What little land that the river left intact is now private farmland without public access. Despite the pioneers dedicated perseverance, Shonesburg was yet another settlement that fell victim to the Rio Virgin. --CBA


In the Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.792 Andrew Jenson writes:

Shonesburg was thus named after an Indian chief by the name of Shones, who had a little farm on a small creek which empties into the Rio Virgen where Shonesburg was built. The place was first settled by Oliver DeMill and others, who arrived on the site of Shonesburg with their families Jan. 20, 1862. They immediately bought out the Indian claims and commenced making improvements. George Petty was the first presiding Elder at Shonesburg. He was succeeded later in 1862 by Henry Stevens, who in 1868 (after the settlement had been vacated a short time because of Indian troubles) was succeeded by John J. Allred, who later was succeeded by Samuel K. Gifford, who was succeeded by Walter Stringham, who in 1874 was succeeded by Oliver DeMill (serving a second term), who in 1889 was succeeded by Oscar DeMill, who presided until called on a mission in 1893. Soon after this the branch organization at Shonesburg was discontinued and the few saints left were transferred to the Rockville Ward.




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Note to all:

If you have histories of the pioneers of Shunesburg (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.
--Cindy Alldredge

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Copyright © 2006 by Cynthia B. Alldredge