County History: Wayne Co. UTGenWeb
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UTAH -- Wayne County

County History

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State of Utah

1776 - Escalante and Dominquez (Franciscan Priests) enter Utah searching for a direct route to Monterey, California. In the process they discover the Green River.

1824 - Etienne Provost and James Bridger (trappers) discover the Great Salt Lake. They believed it was an arm of the Pacific Ocean.

1847 - Brigham Young led Mormons to the area now known as Salt Lake City.

1848 - The region is given over by Mexico to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

1850 - Brigham Young serves as governor as the Territory of Utah is created.

1869 - The nation's first transcontinental railroad rails meet at Promontory (Union Pacific and Central Pacific.)

1896 - Utah is admitted to the United States.


Origin of Wayne County

1854- John C. Fremont's final expedition crosses some of the areas in the northwest corner of present-day Wayne County.

1860- Creation of Beaver County, which is delineated by parallel boundaries extending eastward into present Colorado, and westward about two thirds of the way across modern Nevada.

1861- Beaver County is truncated on the east by the creation of the Utah-Colorado border.

1865- General Warren G. Snow leads 103 Utah Militiamen into the Wayne County area to investigate Indian activity during the Black Hawk War.  A skirmish is fought at "Red Lake", near Thousand Lake Mountain.

1865- Piute County made from the eastern portion of Beaver County.

1873- Brigham Young sends an expedition of 19 men into the area southeast of Sevier Valley to secure a peace treaty with the local Indians.   Their translators are George W. Bean and Albert K. Thurber.  After travelling to Fish Lake, the group passes down the length of Rabbit Valley, then to Pine Creek on the northwest flank of Boulder Mountain.  They return over the Awapa Plateau to Grass Valley where the peace treaty is signed.

1874- Mormon explorers from Sanpete County cross Rabbit Valley, and continue as far as the Teasdale area.  Their report prompts Apostle Orson Hyde to suggest opening the area to settlement the following year.

1875- Hugh McClellan and family build a cabin near the current site of Loa.

1875- A. K. Thurber and Beason Lewis bring over a thousand head of cattle into lower Rabbit Valley, near the mouth of Government Creek.  The town called Thurber is established just to the north of this area, and later changes its name to Bicknell.

1876- A. J. Allred and others settled in upper Rabbit Valley; first east of the Fremont River, then moving west to Allred Point.  Some move north to the current Fremont location.

1876- East Loa (now Lyman) settled by James P. Sampson.

1878- Loa townsite is surveyed and mapped.

1878- Willard Brinkerhoff and Ebb Hall take up land at the current location of Teasdale.

Late 1870's- Peter Brown begins farming and ranching the Sand Creek area just north of the present location of Torrey.

1880- The Green River becomes Piute County's eastern border as San Juan County is established.

1880- Alex Keele and Will Bullard clear land at the later site of Grover.

1882- Ebeneazer Hanks leads a group down the Fremont River to its confluence with the Dirty Devil River.  Originally known as Graves Valley, it is eventually named Hanksville.

1882- Elijah C. Behunin and Brigham Ney move east along the Fremont to find more arable land, in order to establish Caineville.  (Ney departs in disgust the following day.)

1883- Blue Valley receives first settlers.  Hyrum Burgess and Henry Giles are among the first; the new town spends some time known by the last names of each of them.

1884- Townsite for Fremont is laid out on the west half of Silas Morrell's quarter section.

1884- Franklin W. Young is the first settler at Fruita.

1886- Notom is settled by Jorgen C. Smith.

1892- Wayne County is created from the part of Piute County east of the Parker Rim.


   Anne Snow, comp., Rainbow Views: A History of Wayne County, 1953; Third edition 1977.
   Copyright by Wayne Co. Chapter of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

   Miriam B. Murphy, A History of Wayne County, 1999
   Copyright by Wayne County Commission
   Utah State Historical Society's "Utah Centennial County History Series"

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Last Updated: 06.06.2015