Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hyrum's First Settlers

CAMP HOLLOW On April 6, 1860 the first pioneers of Hyrum encamped on this stream, they lived in wagon boxes, shelters dug into the banks, tilled and planted about one hundred acres of virgin soil. Later in the fall, following the advice of Apostle Ezra Taft Benson, they moved about one mile south west, built a fort and named the place Hyrum in honor of the beloved brother of the prophet Joseph Smith, both of whom were martyred at Carthage, Illinois June 27, 1844. HEADS OF FAMILIES Ira Allen Niels B. Nielsen Hugh Parks Andrew A. Anderson Thomas Williams George Nielsen Calvin Bingham Christopher Olsen Andrew A. Allen Andrew Nielsen Alonzo Bingham Soren Neilsen Alva Benson Adam Smith Hans Monsen Oliver McBride William Williams Noah Brimhall David Osborn Jens Jensen Sr. Jonas Halversen Hans E. Nielsen David Parks Rasmus Jensen ERECTED 1962
HISTORY OF CAMP HOLLOW 125 YEARS LATER In March 1860 a group of pioneers left Cedar City to settle in Cache Valley. They explored the valley and decided to make a settlement about 5 miles east of Old Fort Wellsville, called Camp Hollow. These pioneers led by Ira Allen, arrived on April 8, 1860. At first they lived in wagon boxes or tents. Those that didn't have these, built 13 dugouts, holes in ground with logs at west end for wall. Larger logs were placed over top with thick covering over the branches. The settlers planted 100 acres of corn, wheat, oats and barley for winter. More families joined them and they decided they needed a townsite with more water and with higher and better drained land. In the fall of 1860 Camp Hollow was deserted.
Sherry Nelson wrote an article for the Hyrum Crusader as part of the U.S. Bicentennial and looking back.  She added, "They were sent by Brigham Young to settle a new area that could provide an outlet for the ever growing number of Saints pouring into Salt Lake Valley, and also to provide new grazing land for the livestock.  They found a beautiful valley.  The foliage and greenery were a joy to them and the children loved the abundance of the wild flowers.  But all was not rosy for these early settlers.  They had problems with water, the freezing bitter cold and with Indians."
Sherry also wrote a brief summary of Ira Allen, Captain of the first founding party, and talks about that first summer in this manner.
"The company could not go through the canyon east of Brigham City owing to the snow in the mountains, but went by way of Collinston over the low summit eastward, then south along the foothills to Fort Mendon, (then one year old), and south to Wellsville, arrive there April 1, 1860.
Springtime was near when the company arrived at Camp Hollow but the ground was not ready to plow.  Those who did not have wagon boxes and tents decided to make dugouts to live in.  Everybody worked like one big, united family and within two weeks plenty of timber was down.  Then part of the men and all of the ox teams rushed the plowing while the others excavated for dugouts.  Cooking was done outside.  The settlers lived in these dugouts, wagon boxes, tends and on log cabin.
They planted crops, but water was needed.  The canal from the Little Bear River was dug, using an old spirit level for navigation, and completed by 28 men and boy in 21 working days (not eight-hour days nor a forty-hour week, but from dawn until dark, about sixteen-hour days).  They camped on the ditch and Alva Benson used his son's mule team and went from family to family gathering what provisions he could get such as bread, butter and buttermilk and delivered them daily to the men.
Water reached the burning crops the first part of July, but the crops were so far gone that water didn't do much good, and crickets and grasshoppers soon made away with what was left.  Because of this distressing situation most of the men had to leave for Ogden and other places south to work to get food for the remainder of the season.
As soon as houses were ready, families left Camp Hollow and moved into the fort.  By late fall Camp Hollow was completely evacuated.  Hyrum was born.


  1. Georgeana McRae Cook: I remember the hollow when the original marker was in place. It was a sad day when the spot was developed (the summer after my HS graduation.) Yikes - I'm remembering "the good old days" again.

  2. Eileen Flaherty James The marker is back in its original place now. However there has been a house built there very close. There is a little picnic area there.