What makes this area so attractive?
Learn the history of southern Utah and those who carved out
the beginning of this little bit of heaven.
This document describes the many historic buildings included in the Green Gate Village just west of Main Street on Tabernacle Street in St. George, Utah. The homes were lived in by some of our earliest settlers. Other buildings are described along the way.Read More
The Ancestor Square walking tour describes many historical buildings in the block called "Ancestor Square." These buildings have been converted into restaurants, retailers, and art galleries.Read More
The Pioneer Corner walking tour highlights the two main buildings consisting of the Pioneer Courthouse and the Pioneer Museum. The Courthouse is one of the oldest standing buildings in Washington County. Others building occupying the city block are also described.Read More
The Town Square walking tour describes many important buildings such as the Tabernacle, the Dixie Academy (Children's Discovery Museum), and Woodward School. Many community events are held in this square.Read More
Two of the early explorers to the area were Franciscan Catholic Priests. In 1776, Father Atanasio Dominguez and Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante traversed this wild country in their pursuit of a trail to reach the Pacific Ocean. The Domínguez–Escalante expedition was a Spanish journey of exploration conducted in 1776 by two Franciscan priests, Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, to find an overland route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to their Roman Catholic mission in Monterey, on the coast of modern-day central California. Domínguez, Vélez de Escalante, and Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco, acting as the expedition's cartographer, traveled with ten men from Santa Fe through many unexplored portions of the American West, including present-day western Colorado, Utah, and northern Arizona. Along part of the journey, three indigenous guides of the Timpanogos tribe (Ute people) aided them. The land was harsh and unforgiving, and hardships encountered during travel forced the group to return to Santa Fe, New Mexico before reaching Las Californias. Maps and documentation produced by the expedition aided future travelers. The Domínguez–Escalante route eventually became an early template for the Old Spanish Trail, a trade route from Santa Fe to Pacific Coast settlements."
Several explorers came after the Escalante and Dominguez expedition, such as Jedediah Smith, John Fremont, and Jim Bridger, to name a few. Each added to the body of knowledge needed to face the challenges in the mountains of the West. Much information was passed on to Brigham Young as he prepared the exodus from the United States to the Great Salt Lake Valley.
Scattered throughout the region of southern Utah were several tribes of Native Americans.
The members of these tribes taught early settlers the means of survival when food was so scarce.
INDIAN MISSION - JOHN DOYLE LEE The first settlement in Washington County was not made until the fall of 1852, when John D. Lee took a small company and set out to colonize Harmony. One year from this time the first missionaries to the Indians of the south were called. With the expanding of the Territory, with new converts arriving in large numbers each season, President Brigham Young sensed more and more the need of an open corridor to the sea. The Old Spanish Trail needed to be kept open and free of danger from Indian attacks if the people were to secure many of the things which they would need. But this economic aspect was only a part of the reason for the Indian Mission. Mormons believed the Native Americans were their brethren and should be taught Christianity and the arts of civilized life. On April 14, 1854, 21 men were called by Brigham Young as Indian Missionaries. These men left for the Southern Territory just after the October General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints. The ages of these men ranged from 17 to 47. Four of the men, Jacob Hamblin, Samuel Knight, Augustus P. Hardy, and Ira Hatch saw this as a life-long call. They befriended the Paiutes, taught and encouraged them in better agriculture and stopped the slave trading being conducted by Mexican traders and Northern Utes. Missionaries and their families suffered poverty, threats to life, loss of loved ones, floods, malaria, droughts, isolation, and countless other hardships. A few of the missionaries married Paiute women and adopted or raised Indian children. Janet Leavitt was an Indian wife of Dudley Leavitt. Nina Pulsipher was an adopted Indian child. Rhoda Carpenter and Cora Keate were also adopted children. Ira Hatch’s family included an Indian wife, Sarah Maraboots. Dave Lemmon was purchased from the Indians by Jim Lemmon and raised as his own son. An extremely unfortunate incident was the death of Maria Woodbury, the seventeen-year-old wife of Thales Haskell. A young Indian boy took their gun from above the mantel and began examining it, when it discharged, the bullet entering Maria’s thigh and lodged under the skin near the upper part of her abdomen. The attempts to treat her were hopeless. She was shot on a Saturday morning and died the next Sunday morning, June 23, 1856. She was the first to be buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery
JACOB VERNON HAMBLIN Jacob Hamblin was born on 6 April 1819 in Ohio. His parents were farmers, and he learned farming as a youth. In 1836 his family moved to Wisconsin Territory and homesteaded at a place called Spring Prairie. Hamblin’s father told Jacob when he was nineteen that he had been a faithful boy and that it was time for him to go into the world and do something for himself. Hamblin then traveled more than a hundred miles west and went to work in the Galena mines. After working for a few months, he barely escaped a rock fall that killed his co-worker. The incident gave him an aversion to mining, and he never returned to the mines. Collecting his wages, he returned to Wisconsin and paid for the land he had helped homestead. After listening to the Mormon preaching, he joined the Mormon Church on 3 March 1842. Hamblin started missionary work almost immediately and became known as a faith healer, showing the signs of “those that believe,” in his words. The next year he moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Mormon Church headquarters were located. Anti-Mormon sentiment was building, and Hamblin and his family received their share. At that time, he met and married Rachel Judd. His family moved west with the Mormons. He settled in Tooele Valley and became acquainted with local Indians who knew him as a friend. In 1854 Hamblin was called as a missionary to the Indians in southern Utah. Again, he became known for his influence with Native Americans because of his integrity and his willingness to be friends with them. He had many spiritual experiences that caused the Indians to consider him invested with godly powers. After serving in his Indian mission for more than a year, Hamblin moved his family from Tooele to what is now Santa Clara. He then became president of the southern Utah Indian mission. In the fall of 1857 Hamblin went north to confer with Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. On the way he encountered the Fancher Party of emigrants, California-bound from Arkansas, and Missouri. They asked him about the road and places to camp. He directed them to Mountain Meadows on the old Spanish Trail, about three miles from his home. He later expressed horror and repugnance at news of the massacre of the Fancher Party at Mountain Meadows. His wife Rachel helped care for the massacre survivors at the ranch. Jacob Hamblin had four wives: Lucinda Taylor; Rachel Judd; Sarah Priscilla Leavitt; Louisa Bonelli. He fathered twenty-four children and had several adopted children. His legacy was a missionary and friend to the Native Americas, helping smooth relations between them and the more recent arrivals in the land.
THOMAS DUNLOP BROWN Thomas Dunlop Brown was born Dec.16, 1807 in Scotland. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Liverpool Branch, British Mission on June 9, 1844. Thomas emigrated to the U.S.A. on April 6, 1849. T. D. Brown and Henry Miller had a store in Kaysville, Iowa. Other information in the Church Historians Office shows articles written by Thomas Dunlap Brown or T. D. Brown as referring to him, as follows: Some of the highlights shown in the above references are Jan. 25, 1854, List of emigrants helped by the Perpetual Fund shows the name of T. D. Brown. By this it would seem he had again been to England. April 3, 1854, shows his name again as being a member of the 35th Quorum of Seventy, as published in the Deseret News. April 3, 1854, shows a list of missionaries of the Parley P. Pratt Company in T. D. Brown's own handwriting as secretary‑recorder of the group. Inventory of materials they carried to the Southern Indian Mission, signed by T. D. Brown, Clerk. Feb. 27, 1855, a new society named Philharmonic Society, meeting in T. D. Brown’s large room. Mar. 20, 1855, a meeting held at Cedar City, Utah schoolhouse. A Stake was organized in Cedar City and Harmony. Twelve High Councilmen were chosen, among which were T. D. Brown and Joshua Thomas Willis. July 24, 1855, celebration at Parowan, Utah, T. D. Brown was the orator and on July 25th., he was mentioned as having continued to help with their program. Oct. 13, 1855, he reports on exploring expedition on the Colorado River, believing it to be navigable. Oct. 20, 1855, a Quarterly Conference was held at Farmington, Davis County, Utah. Present among missionaries was T. D. Brown. Oct. 20, 1855, tells of Indian trouble and of a young Indian threatening T. D. Brown who is spoken of as President Brown. Some Indian boys rode their horses through their wheat fields and drew their bows and arrows, thus the settlers had to take up firearms for protection. While serving in the Southern Indian Mission he met Mary Lucretia Willis, the charming daughter of William Wesley and Mary Margaret Willis. Lucretia’s mother had died when she was only thirteen years of age. Her father married again, and Lucretia was living in the home of a stepmother. Having reached the age of eighteen her hand was sought in marriage by one Thomas D. Brown, not by courting and wooing, but merely by asking William Wesley's consent to take Lucretia as his wife. Her father approached her and told her he wanted to talk to her in private. After secluding themselves he told Lucretia that Bro. Brown wanted to marry her as a plural wife. She protested, saying. “I don’t love Bro. Brown and besides he is so much older than me.” (T. D. Brown being 47 years of age while she was only eighteen.) Her father commanded her to get ready, in a manner she knew was final. So, she prepared herself for the ordeal of becoming a bride without further fanfare. They were married in the Endowment House at Cedar City, Utah in 1855. She learned to love Thos. D. Brown and to this union were born a daughter and two sons. Emily, who died in infancy, John William and Frank were their children. He continued to serve as a missionary in the locality of Southern Utah until he was honorably released in the year of 1856. He then moved to Salt Lake City,
WILLIAM HENEFER William Henefer's father, James Henefer Sr. (1791-1862), was a tinner, buckle maker, and iron monger. When William was seven years old, his mother, Charlotte Hicken Hennefer (1793-1832) died, and his father remarried around 1831 to Elizabeth Smith. In October 1840 two missionaries convinced William and his brother James Hennefer, that the gospel was true, and they were baptized in 1844. They immediately started to save for the trip to America. It took William four years to save enough. After his arrival in America, he obtained work in Trenton, New Jersey, where he met his future wife, Rebecca Ann Hays. They traveled to Council Bluffs where they joined a company of Saints going west. Upon their arrival, they found a home and William opened the first sanitary barbershop in Salt Lake City, known as Henefer’s Shaving Salon. In the spring of 1853, William and his brother, James, were called to take their families to Henefer where they were to help the migrating Saints as much as possible by being blacksmiths and raising fresh produce. In the winter William was a policeman. In April Conference 1854 he called to the Southern Indian Mission where he helped build Fort Santa Clara and Fort Harmony. He did proselyting work among the Indians of Southern Utah. William was called to serve as a member of the Deseret Dramatic Society to help with productions at the Social Hall. He was also called to be a freighter. He ran freight all over, even to San Bernardino, California. The town of Heneferville was named after William and his brother James. In 1885 William asked to be released from his mission in Hennefer. He returned home to Salt Lake where he opened a barbershop on Main Street. He served as Sunday School Superintendent and ward teacher. ---by Joan Hennefer Clark
AUGUSTUS POORE HARDY Augustus Poore Hardy was the Marshall in St. George 1874 to 1876 than the sheriff from 1877 to 1883. He served when the mining towns were perhaps the biggest problems law enforcement had faced since the first pioneer settled here in southern Utah. His history is colored with his chasing cattle thieves and shootouts with desperados like most other early law enforcement. Not many details are known about him other than he was both the Marshall and the Sheriff when Tom Forrest was taken from the county jail and hung in 1880 outside the Washington County Courthouse.
IRA STEARNS HATCH
JOHN SMILEY LOTT
THALES H. HASKELL
AMOS G. THORNTON
After the Indian Missionaries, the first sizable group of settlers arrived in the region in 1857 assigned to settle the town of Washington with the goal of growing cotton.
Four years later in 1861, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assigned 309 skilled families to relocate from Salt Lake City to St. George with the assignment of developing a permanent community. In addition, 85 additional Swiss men, women and children, all German speaking, were assigned to settle Santa Clara.
In 1862, an additional 150 families relocated from Salt Lake City to St. George to support the effort which was struggling with famine and floods.
In Bloomington there is a marker that describes the early days in the area.Read More
Catherine Steel is a character you might meet on an Historic St. George Live Tour in St. George, Utah
Jacob Hamblin always greets the guests arriving for the Historic St. George Live tours in St. George, Utah. Come learn his story.
Judge Macfarlane holds a mock trial at the Historic Pioneer Courthouse when you attend an Historic St. George Live tour in St. George, Utah.
Come meet the wife of Jacob Hamblin and learn more about his personality as you attend an Historic St. George Live tour in St. George, Utah.