April Newsletter 2017

Our April Newsletter 2017 focuses on two events that took place on the same night!

First: We concluded the Elementary Essay Contest on this evening.  For the very first time, all 7 schools in the area participated, including the Water Canyon Elementary in Hildale, and the Common Wealth Home School here in Hurricane.  Also, for the very first time, we had a winner in ever single school!!  Our participation was nearly double our best year in the past, with 76 participants.  All in all, this year was monumental for our chapter as far as the Essays went.  Our chairman, Gail Hinton, did an outstanding job correlating all of this.  Our deep gratitude go out to him for what he did!

Our overall winner was Dana Grygla from the Hurricane Elementary!  She came with her parents and grandmother.  When it came her turn, she read her essay in an easy manner, telling about her great great grandfather, Jonathan Heaton.  Besides telling us of his life, she applied things in her life today that she felt she inherited from him.  Her presentation was flawless, and left us speechless.

For your information, the participation was as follows:  Hurricane had 15 participants; Three Falls had 8 participants, LaVerkin had 16, Springdale 3, Water Canyon 3, Common Wealth 1, and Valley Academy Charter School had 30.  Of those 76 participants, 15 were selected as winners, with 3 of them taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  Each participant received a certificate of participation, and all of the winners received at least $10.00 in presidential dollars.  The overall winner received $30.00, and a plaque.

The Second event of the evening was having Wayne Hinton, a professor emeritus at SUU in Cedar City, Utah, speak to us.  He reported on the life of Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses. Although there is much known about him, Wayne was able to shed extra light on his life.  This report helped us to appreciate more the hardships he and others went through during that time.

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Washington Museum Trek

Washington Museum Trek

Robert Dockery Covington Home

On March the 4th, this small group gathered in the parking lot of the Hurricane Zion’s Bank, preparing to go on the Washington Museum Trek!  We were expecting to be going to the Washington Mill Site, then on to the Washington Museum. However, as we were to learn, there was a surprise waiting for us.  Dan Zaleski, the trek organizer, had been approached by one of our members, Paul Covington, and told of another museum found in Washington City that we had not heard of, that being the “Robert Dockery Covington Home.”  That new piece of information was to change the entire trek for all of us!

Front of the Old Mill

Old Rug Weaving Loom

At 9:00 a.m., we all headed out to our first area of our Washington Museum Trek, to see the Old Cotton Mill.  It has been renovated today, and is being used as the “Star Nursery.” Our visit there was to be quite disappointing.  Although the building houses the nursery, and it is kept in wonderful shape, there is very little there of the original use of the place.  We were allowed to go to the second floor and see what they had there, but all they had was an old rug weaving loom, and a “model old fireplace” with a picture of the Old Mill after it had been renovated.  There were places in the walls where the original rock work were exposed, and that was interesting. We spent just a few minutes  here before moving on.

Exposed Rock Work at the Old Cotton Mill

Robert Dockery Covington Statue at the Washington Museum

Robert Dockery Covington Photo

It was here that we were told of the Robert Dockery Covington home.  It was located on the North West corner of 200 E. and 200 N. in the city of Washington.  It too just a couple of minutes to arrive at this wonderful location.  There was a beautiful Rot-iron fence surrounding a very lovely, well kept, old pioneer home. We learned that it was the oldest continuously lived in home in Washington County, and one of the oldest homes in Washington.  It can be seen in this post at the top of the post. There was a Pecan tree on the property that was claimed to be the oldest or first Pecan tree planted in Southern Utah, and it was still bearing nuts.

Paul Covington

Carmen Snow as Malinda Covington

This home had been continuously lived in from the time of Robert Covington, until about five years ago when the City of Washington purchased it, and turned it into a museum.  Our tour guide on this day was Carmen Snow, who oversees a youth group called the Washington City Youth Council, a group of young men and women who have learned of the history of this home, and act out the lives of Robert, Malinda and others as they take you through the home. Carmen was dressed in period clothing, and acted the part of Malinda, the 2nd wife of Robert. (As an aside note: Robert Dockery Covington is the progenitor of most of the Covington’s of Washington County. He is the great, great grandfather of Paul, who is one of our chapter members!

Some of our group listening to Malinda in the living room

Skeleton’s in the Closet

Below is a sample of what you will find in the home. It is just a sample, for there were many things I did not get pictures of. On a humorous note, as we were approaching the end of the tour of the upstairs, Malinda had us open one of the closets, and as we did so, her comment was, “You will see some of the ‘skeleton’s in the closet'”

Gerri Hinton in from of the Covington Home

Sheila Dutton Modeling Pulling a Handcart

Plaque on the south-east corner of the lot.

Historic Site Plaque on the front of the home

Miniature Metal Pram as a decoration in the home

Some of the Period Instruments used by the Covington family

Spinning Needles of the day, with an old Metal Iron

From the Covington home, we went to the Washington Museum found in downtown Washington.  It was easy to find because of the unique sign placed in front of the property, Plus, it is found right on Main Street, and is in front of the old church in the center of town.

Washington Museum Sign

The museum is not usually open on Saturday, but special arrangements were made, and the docent came just especially for us.  The tour was

Museum Docent behind a display case

marvelous, and there was much to see here.  We didn’t have enough time to peruse each room as long as we would have liked because of the volume of material stored there. It would take several hours to make an extensive review of the museum.  The city has taken great care of it, and it is truly a wonderful place to take your family and relive the lives our our pioneer ancestors.  Enjoy the pictures below.

Multiple Monuments to the city Founders


John D. Lee Statue

Old Player Piano

Old Wood Cook Stove






Quilt with Old Pictures of Washington Homes

Old Wicker Wheelchair

Old Wash & Rinse Tubs










Very Old Sewing Machine

Old Marble Wind-up Clock

Old A.M./F.M. Radio

Very Old Electric Sewing Machine

Old A.M. Radio

Malinda Covington Face Plaque

Arrowhead Collection: Just a very small piece of a much larger collection at the museum

Old Clothes Washing Machine

Old Sewing Machine

Metal Weaving Spindle

Washington City Birthplace Plaque

The Original Founders of the City of Washington Plaque

Prominent Pioneers of Washington City

Granary Storage Plaque

Heritage Pride and Progress Monument


March Newsletter 2017

Jim Rhoades

Our March Newsletter 2017 highlights Jim Rhoades, who came as oThomas Rhoadesur guest to speak to us about the fascinating story of his great, great grandfather Thomas Rhoades.  This man’s role in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in little known.  Thomas was indeed a hero of epic proportions, who aiding the the selling of as much property in Nauvoo as he could, for the Saints, before heading west.

His expeditions with the Donner Party, then by himself to get to the Sacramento Valley, finding gold, rescuing the survivors of the Donner Party, returning to Salt Lake City with $17,000 in gold, and donating it to the Church at a very critical time is just a prelude to the great good This man did.

He was later asked to represent the Church to Chief Walkara, and receive Chief Walkaragold that the Chief wanted to give to the Church.  That part of the presentation was what ignited the flame of interest in the group that night. The presentation was recorded, and will be put on line in the very near future.

Marches event was also advertised, with Wayne Hinton consenting to come and address us on the life of Martin Harris, as we prepare for August’s trek to Clarkston, Utah for “The Man Who Knew” Pageant. We will also honor the winner of the elementary essay contest.  The rest of the calendar is also represented.  There is also a brief history of the community of Toquerville.

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