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Treasureton Ward

(Note: Some of the Cole family line, lived in Treasureton, Idaho. Some family members are buried in the Treasureton Cemetery)

Treasureton is located at the extreme north part of Cache Valley. In fact, it extends to the divide between Cache and Gentile, or Gem Valley. Treasureton is on Highway 34 between Preston and Grace, Idaho. It is high in the tops of the mountains. As an early visitor was coming into Treasureton on the Oxford road, he saw the moon coming over the ridge of Rocky Peak; it seemed close enough to touch. He turned to his companion and said, "Well, this should be 'Treasureton,' we're up to the moon." The settlement of what is now Treasureton, began in the fall of 1868 with the coming of Wilson Robbins, Neils Georgeson and Soren Hansen. They settled on the east bank of Battle Creek on the place now owned by Raymond Sant. This started the flow of settlers.

In the spring of 1871, Nathan Smith (cemetery marker) and George Sant (cemetery marker) and their families came from Smithfield, Utah, and settled near the Wilford Bosworth home west of Battle Creek. They remained there about a year. The Smiths went farther west to what is now Banida. Their log house is still standing on the Joe Christensen place (Ed. note: The home has since been moved to the Banida church grounds). Sants moved farther north near the church. In July 1975, George Sant bought the place first occupied by Mr. Robbins, Mr. Hansen and Mr. Georgeson. The Sant family has owned and lived on the place ever since. According to the writer's information, Hyrum Georgeson was the first child born in Treasureton. In 1872, Neils Georgeson and Soren Hansen moved back to Weston; Wilson Bobbins moved to the place now owned by Mack Hymas.

Two French-Canadians named "Shaw" and "Ravelle" settled below the Treasureton Reservoir a few miles from Winder. They later sold out to Alfred Roscot, also a French-Canadian. This property was later part of the land purchased by the LDS Church and known as the "Church Ranch."

Between 1872 and 1876, a few more families settled along Battle Creek. Among them were John Millington, William Treasure and Charles Williams, Sr. Charles Williams settled on the place now owned by Kermit Shumway. Mr. Treasure lived on the hill by the calcite plant and John Millington settled across Battle Creek from the place bought by George Sant, Sr.

In 1874, the terminus of the Utah Northern Railroad was at Franklin, Idaho. Jim and Fred Atkinson, brothers, got the contract to carry the mail once a week from Franklin to Soda Springs, Idaho. They forded the river at Riverdale whenever possible. When they could not ford, they had to go down below Winder and cross on the Packer Bridge. They had very little trouble until about Christmas of 1875. The winter of 1875-76 was known as the "hard winter." (Aunt Maggie Smith, as she was known by neighbors and friends, was a girl of nine during that hard winter, and recalled the trials of it all her life.) From Christmas on, the Atkinson brothers had to leave their outfit at the Roscot place and go on skis or snowshoes. It took them the entire week to make the trip.

Because of the hard winter, hay became scarce. However, on the south slopes where the wind blew the snow off, there was a lot of grass. The problem was to get the livestock to the grass. Sometimes, they could drive the stock over the crusted snow, but most of the time it was necessary to dig trenches through which the stock could pass. The trenches were just wide enough for the livestock and helped keep then on their feet, for they were very weak and had to be helped to their feet each day. The task of driving the stock was great, and it required the help of the women and children as well as the men. Most of the livestock survived, but they were weak and thin until summer came. George Sant, Jr. measured the snow by the road near the church on April 1, 1876; it measured exactly five feet deep. The weather did not break until late in April.

In the summer of 1876, the railroad was extending its line and the terminus was by the Nathan Smith farm near what is now "Banida." A town of tents and lumber houses sprang up as if by magic. The town was called "Dunnville," in honor of Mr. Dunn, one of the railroad officials. It was a very busy railroad camp. There were dry goods and grocery stores, boarding houses, saloons and blacksmith shops. The freight for Montana was loaded to the wagons at this place. Dunnville was a flourishing town for two years. It afforded a good market for butter, eggs, cheese and vegetables produced by the people along Battle Creek at Treasureton. When the railroad terminus was moved to Marsh Valley, Dunnville finally ceased to exist.

At first the community was part of Clifton Ward; it was necessary to go to Clifton in order to attend church services. In 1882, a school and church house combination was built and the community was made a branch of Clifton Ward with George Sant, Sr. as the first presiding elder. Others who served as presiding elders are: John Millington, 1884; George Sant, Jr., 1886; Benjamin Hymas, 1887; and William Treasure, 1890.

In the beginning, the children were sent to other communities to attend school; and they stayed with friends and relatives. Within a short period of time, a room was provided in various homes in Treasureton for school. Billy Rhodehouse was probably the first school teacher. During the 1920's in Treasureton, there was a two-year high school as well as the elementary grades. The Treasureton School District was well financed because of the taxes paid by Utah Power and Light for lines which passed through the community; but equalization of taxes in the county ended our district with all the east side becoming District No. 201. In the Fall of 1949, it was decided to send all our students to Preston; thus, all that was left was the abandoned two-room, stone building and a lot of happy memories. The school property was purchased by the ward and the building was torn down after two or three years. While it was standing unused, it reminded one of the school house described by John Greenleaf Whittler in his poem entitled "In School Days," which begins, "Still sits the school house by the road, a ragged beggar sunning." We have had many wonderful school teachers in our community, but Leone Kirby is the only one still living here (1984).

As the branch in its beginning, continued to grow, the people felt that their mail delivery was very inadequate. The Atkinson brothers contract had expired. A Mr. Morrison applied for and received the contract to carry the mail from Dunnville and later from Oxford to Soda Springs. There was a great deal of travel through the upper part of Treasureton for the Caribou mines north of Soda Springs were booming.

The people along Battle Creek, through the help of Sheriff William Homer of Oneida County, secured a post office. When the application was granted, William Treasure was chosen as the first postmaster because he lived on the road from Dunnville to Gentile Valley. Sheriff Homer gave this community the name of "Treasureton" in honor of William Treasure, the first postmaster.

Treasureton has very little irrigation. Most of the farms are entirely dry farmed. At first, the people farmed the creek bottoms, but soon discovered that they could raise dry farm grains. They plowed farther back up the hollows and on the hills. The Lord was always good to them, and no crop failures were known. Once in a while some of the farms were damaged by a freak hail storm, but most always the people came through with pretty good crops.

There have been a few businesses here besides farming. They included the Benjamin Hymas store, the Nathan Smith, Jr. (cemetery marker), family calcium mine and plant, the Russell Johnson sawmill, and service stations operated by Ernest Conlin, Edward Paskins, and William Sant. There was also the Treasureton Creamery, which was located where the Treasure Canyon Calcite Company was located. Farmers brought their cream to the creamery where delicious butter was made and wrapped. Local young ladies were hired to wrap butter. It was in operation in 1905. R. C. Swenson of Preston was the manager.

Many interesting stories can be told about these different enterprises, but they will have to be written in other publications because our space here is very limited.

At one time there were fifty or more families in the ward. It had a population in 1918 of 342. The number of families and the population has steadily decreased since that time. With the advent of the tractor, it was possible for a man to farm more acreage. Today, almost every farm is composed of two or three original farms.

In August of 1888, Thomas Kirby purchased the first threshing machine in the ward. It was a horse-powered machine, using twelve horses to power it while it was threshing. For 17 years, Tom Kirby ran the thresher. He threshed from early fall until after snowfall. He could even thresh with snow on the ground, because the grain was in bundle or heading stacks. Mr. Kirby threshed for people all over northern Cache Valley. He took great pride in keeping the machine in perfect running order.

On December 11, 1892, Apostle Marriner W. Merrill, President George C. Parkinson and his counselors, of the Oneida Stake presidency, attended a meeting at the branch church house and organized the Treasureton Ward. Benjamin Hymas was sustained as the first bishop.

The auxuiliary organizations had quite early beginnings in the ward. The Sunday School was the first, organized in March, 1894, with Preston Thomas as the first superintendent. The Relief Society was organized in 1887, with Hannah Millington as the first president. The MIA was organized in 1893. The Primary was organized on October 21, 1893, with Mary Ann Paskins as the first president.

The people in the early days had to make their own recreation. They celebrated July 24th and usually May Day meant a picnic and winding the maypole. They even chose a queen of the May Day. Dancing was one of the main forms of recreation. Many romances budded and blossomed as a result of the community dance. Treasureton Ward built a cement block, one-roomed church in early 1900. It was dedicated in 1906. It had a very good floor for dancing. Its reputation spread until every dance had an over-flow crowd. It was necessary to draw numbers for the dances. Many of the young people became experts at the various dance steps.

Treasureton has always been a very scattered community. At one time, it was necessary for the Nathan Smith family to come from what is now Banida to attend church and other community gatherings. In 1890, Charles and Eliza Johnson went into what was almost a new world -- to the place they called "Stock Valley." Stock Valley is a green basin and has always been a paradise to the Johnson family. The George and Russell Johnson families still live there (1982).

I visited with "Aunt Lizzy" Johnson, as she is called, in her home at Preston. I asked her to reminisce with me of the old days in the valley. She said that Sunday was a big day. It meant getting chores done, the children ready for church, and driving the seven or eight miles in a wagon to church. It was a long day; thus, she always took a large sack of cookies in the wagon for the children. They shared the cookies with the other children and always returned home hungry. The Johnsons had to always hurry to get home from church in time for chores.

Mrs. Johnson said that they used to tap the maple trees near their home. They got enough sap to make their own maple syrup.

Elizabeth Ward, a daughter of Charles Williams, Sr., one of the early residents, could tell many interesting stories of the old days. When she was a girl, the Indians were quite numerous. They would camp on the creek near the Williams' home. Aunt Lizzie said that many a night her father had sat up all night with his gun in his hands to guard the family and buildings.

David Mustard, David Edwards, Phillip Quayle, Benjamin Hymas and Ernest Conlin have served as postmasters of the ward, following Mr. Treasure. After Mr. Conlin's retirement in 1944, the post office was withdrawn and Treasureton became part of the Preston Star Route.

Because Treasureton is in the extreme north end of Cache Valley and farms and ranches are quite a distance apart, it was one of the last communities to get electricity. Finally in the summer of 1940, Utah Power and Light agreed to bring in electricity if certain conditions were met: the recipients were to guarantee to use a certain quota of electricity and make an advance payment.

The local residents were hired for additional help; thus, the lines were installed rapidly from the beginning at north Riverdale.

It was an eventful day when on September 13, 1940, the first electricity came into Treasureton like a bolt of lightning.

On September 17, the people of the ward got together at the ball park for a funeral and burial. In a homemade casket, a kerosene lamp and lantern were placed. A short service was held in which speakers paid tribute to the deceased. Then some of the older men acted as pallbearers and carried the casket to a grave. This is the only funeral and burial of which I am aware, where there were no mourners, but there was rejoicing. The remainder of the evening was spent feasting - including on the menu homemade ice cream, some of which was frozen in an electric freezer.

The old church house served the ward for nearly fifty years. In July of 1952, a new church (picture) was started. The people of Treasureton gave freely of their time and money, and the building was completed in about eight months, except for finishing touches. The structure was well built and the ward members felt that it would serve them until the millennium.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, of the Council of the Twelve, dedicated the building to the Lord. We did not realize that some day he would be President of the Church.

The membership of the Treasureton Ward dwindled to about 115 members where it has stayed for the remaining years. There were many spiritual experiences.

On Sunday, April 10, 1977, the stake presidency, President Robert C. Geddes with Neil F. Nelson and Wilford B. Meek as counselors, Donald N. Barger, clerk and Wayne R. Brown, executive secretary, came to the ward and asked the people to sustain the recommendation that Treasureton Ward and Riverdale Ward be joined and be known as the "Riverdale Ward." Those voting were unanimous in the affirmative. Their faith was really tested, but they were not found lacking.

Those who have served as bishop are:

Bishop Dates Served

Benjamin Hymas December 1892-January 1 1902

Phillip Quayle January 1902-JuIy 1905

Benjamin Hymas July 1905-July 1911

Charles M. ShumwayJuly 1911-February 1928

Deli G. Hymas February 1928-July 1934

Thomas J. Barger July 1934-March 1 1942

George D. Carver March 1942-November 1945

Von R. Atkinson November 1945-January 1952

DeRalph Perry January 1952-September 1957

Raymond Sant September 1957-January 1963

Kermit H. Shumway January 1963-March 1969

Donald N. Barger March 1969-0ctober 1973

Brad P. Shumway October 1973-April 1977


Treasureton Ward

Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, p.884

TREASURETON WARD, Oneida Stake, Franklin Co., Idaho, consists of Latter-day Saints residing on or near Battle Creek, a tributary of Bear River. The ward embraces a district of country extending east and west about six miles and nearly ten miles from north to south. The country in that part of Idaho is rolling, hilly and mountainous, and the people constituting the inhabitants of the ward live in a scattered condition in the different nooks, corners and openings among the hills. Nearly all the inhabitants are farmers and stock-raisers. The L. D. S. meeting house, which is located in a snug little opening in the hills on the west bank of Battle Creek, is 15 miles north of Preston, 12 miles east of Oxford, and 20 miles southwest of Thatcher in Gentile Valley. Nearly all the inhabitants within the limits of the Treasureton Ward are Latter-day Saints.

Wilson C. Robbins and family were among the first settlers in that district of country now included in the Treasureton Ward. They settled in 1868 on Battle Creek, about three miles below the place where the Oxford road now crosses that stream. In due course of time other settlers located in the neighborhood, a school house was built, and a L. D. S. Sunday school organized. Treasureton is an outgrowth of Clifton Ward, of which that district of country now included in Treasureton was known as the fifth district of the Oxford Ward, with John Millington as presiding Teacher. Brother Millington was succeeded in the presidency of the district in 1886 by George Sant, jun., who in 1887 was succeeded by Benjamin Hymas, who in 1890 was succeeded by William Treasure, who presided until Dec. 11, 1892, when the Treasureton District was organized as a bishop's ward, with Benjamin Hymas as Bishop. He was succeeded in 1902 by Philip Quayle, who in 1905 was succeeded by Benjamin Hymas (serving a second term), who in 1911 was succeeded by Charles M. Shumway, who in 1928 was succeeded by Dell Grover Hymas, who presided Dec. 31, 1930. On that date the Treasureton Ward had 207 members, including 51 children. The total population of the Treasureton Precinct was 245 in 1930, including part of Cottonwood Ward.


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