The Bingham Party - Early Settlers in Ashley Valley
In 1877 another company came to Ashley Valley under the direction of Thomas Bingham Sr. He had been a member of the Mormon Battalion and at this time was living in Weber County. In the summer of 1877 he with his son and some others came to look over the valley. He returned to his home in Huntsville and made a report of his findings to President John Taylor. From him Elder Bingham received permission to organize a small company and aid in the settlement of Ashley Valley. They left in November of 1877, and coming over the Uintahs via Evanston and Brown's Park, arrived in the lower end of Ashley Valley on the Green River in December 1877.
The party consisted of Thomas Bingham and wife, David H. Bingham and family, Enoch Burns and son, Frederick G. Williams and family, Alma Taylor and two children, Joshua Chell Hall and wife, Lola and child, Orson Hall, Charles Allan, Charles A. Nye, Ben Lofgren, Neils Lofgren, Charles Jensen and John Nelson and family. At Evanston these were joined by a party who then came along with the Bingham party. They were Allen Beceus, George Carry, Richard Veltman and Bill Bunnell. After contacting the people who had preceded him, he took a complete census of the whole population and sent it to President John Taylor at Salt Lake City. At a meeting held on the Green River in January, 1878, Thomas Bingham Sr. was chosen by those present to preside over them. Thus he became the first presiding elder in the Uintah Basin.
Deseret News, May 25, 1878:
There are about 100 inhabitants in this precinct...The roads that led to this place, whether by Fort Bridger or Heber, are very rough and twenty hundred is a heavy load for four animals...There are as yet no mills in the country...We have applied for a post office and mail route to this place and expect it will be established this summer."
In the early civil and ecclesiastic affairs the Binghams played an important role. Thomas Bingham eventually moved to Dry Fork. Mr. and Mrs. William Gibson landed here from Kamas on the first day of November, 1877. They brought 35 head of cattle and enough provisions to do them for a year or more.The winter was very mild and they lived in a house without doors or windows. While Mr. Gibson was away after supplies two years later, the Indian troubles began over the line in Colorado. Mrs. Gibson being afraid, went to Old Ashley Town where the rest of the settlers had gathered. When Mr. Gibson returned he moved their sawed log house which they had built on their ranch during the summer (sawing the logs with a whip saw) to Old Ashley Town where they lived for a year, then returned to their ranch. They sold their house in Ashley Town to the county for a courthouse. It was used for this purpose four or five years. The county then moved it to Hatch Town, which is now Vernal, where it was used for many years as a county building.
-Excerpts from the "Builders of Uintah", courtesy of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers