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History of Jensen

Given by Thomas Bingham Jr. as told to him by his father and Pete Dillman, also a newspaper article by Isaac Burton Jr.

The Escalante expedition was the first group of White ment to enter this valley. This group of Spanish explorers were searching for a direct route from Santa Fe New Mexico to Montery California. The comapny composed of 10 men crossed Green River about four miles above the present bridge on Sept. 16, 1876.

Robert Synder and his wife Mary also Clara Crouch came to the Ashley Valley Sept. 16, 1876, one hundred years later than the Escalante Company. They were the first white women to settle in the Ashley Valley.

The Burton family came to the valley from Coalville. In 1877 the Burton family left Coalville for Arizona. At Heber City they met Joseph Campbell and several men just returning from the Ashley Valley. These men were so enthusiastic about the basin and its prospects that they decided to Pioneer Ashley Valley. They encountered storms and bad weather on the journey. They were over a month coming from Heber. They had no roads to follow, only the creeks and trails. Daniels canyon was very difficult, it was necessary to travel up the creek and to cross it ninety-two times. The brush and broke the bows. However, they were well equipped to settle in a strange land. Their outfit consisted of six wagons 60 cattle, besides the Burton family which consisted of twelve children and Annie Frisby there were in company Dr. McClain with a light wagon and team. Ellis Reese and wife, with two yoke of oxen. Mrs. Reese was a sister of Annie Frisby (Who later became the wife of Isaac Burton Jr.)

Young Isaac was the leader of the comapny because his father had a broken leg. The company landed in Ashley Fork, November 17, 1877. At that time Old Ashley Town not in existence.

The Burtons remained only two days on Ashley Fork then they moved down to Green River and spent the winter in what is known as the lake bottoms. They built one log cabin with a lean-to. They had only been there three weeks when a small company led by Thomas Bingham Sr. came over Diamond Mountain from Ogden Valley.

Hearing of Ashley Valley Thomas Bingham Sr. and three other men, Mark M. Hall, Alvin Battey and Ludivedk Feltt came by way of Heber and Strawberry arriving in Ashley Valley the last of September. Being pleased with the looks of the valley the party returned by way of Browns Park and Fort Bridger. On 9th of Nov. 1877 Thomas Bingham Sr. and company left Huntsville for Ashley Valley coming by way of echo Canyon, Fort Bridger, through Browns Park over Diamond Mountain to Brush Creek. They followed the creek down to green River. Then down the Green River to where Burtons had camped.

The company consisted of Thomas Bingham wife and 2 children, David H. and Phoebe; Chell Hall, his wife Lola, one child Sally; Orson Hall; John Neilsen, wife and one daughter; Charley Jensen and Ben Loffgreen; Alvin Battey; Charles A. Nye his brother Osberne Nye; the above all came from Huntsville. The following came from Eden Ogden Valley, Alma taylor, his wife and two or three children; Enoch Burns his wife Martha Jane, with two children, Jacob and Sarah, Frederick G. Williams, a son-in-law of Enoch Burns, his wife Amanda and one child.

Along the first of January Thomas Bingham Sr. called the company together, Thomas Bingham Sr. was chosen as presiding elder. This was the first church branch of the Latter-Day Saints in this vicinity.

In march and April of 78 Thomas Bingham Sr. family, Chell Hall and family; Charles A. Nye and Brother Osberne moved up to Dry Fork on the Ashley. Within 3 years the settlers that came with Thomas Bingham Sr. also moved away to various places.

Sister Chatwin and family came to the Ashley Valley in the fall of 1877 and stayed all winter with Robert Synder, on the Ashley Creek just below Pardon Dodds ranch. Early in the spring of 78 she and her family went down to Green River and made locations there.

During the winter of 1877-78 which was very mild with no snow to speak of the Burtons were very busy chopping and hewing logs for a cabin ranch. By spring they had a four-roomed log house built with a real board floor in it. A boom of ties had broken loose on Green River and they caught hundreds of floating ties. They sawed these ties into boards and made one of the first floors in the valley.

In April 1878 they took the first water from Brush Creek for irrigation purposes. They planted eight acres of corn, some potatoes and an excellent garden. Mrs. Burton said she raised three crops of peas that summer. The summer of 1879 the White river indians at Meeker and some of the Uintah Indians rebelled and massacred several white men and the agent at meeker, then attacked the army and killed the captain. This uprising became known as the Meeker Massacre.

At the time of the beginning of the trouble the older boys and Mr. Burton were in Heber for winter supplies. Mrs. Burton was alone on the ranch, with the small children, one baby only a year old. The Indians came to the ranch and threatened to kill them all if they didn't move away. They had no way to go so they gave the Indians food to eat and told them they would move as soon as the men returned. Mr. Burton was in the vicinity of the present city of Duchesne when he heard of the massacre. He rode a horse bare-back from there to the ranch at Green River in a day and a half. The Indians caused lots of worry and extra work but none of the settlers were killed. Thirty five stockmen and cow punchers from blue mountain gathered at the Burton Ranch and built a stockade fort with a well in the center.

The winter of 1879-80 was a very hard winter; it snowed early and was very cold all winter. Quite a number of the cattle froze.

Source: Vernal Library History Department


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