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.
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
The Hurricane Valley Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers held an event on November 5th. We ventured out to the beautiful city of St. George, Utah to visit the DUP Museum, and the Trail to the Quarry trek.
We were told to gather at the Zion’s Bank parking lot at 8:30 that morning. We had a grand total of 14 people show up, but even with that small number, we had a great time. We left the parking lot at about 9:00 a.m. and traveled in separate vehicles to the “McQuarrie Memorial Hall” which is a museum run by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (D.U.P.)
These wonderful women had taken time out of their busy lives to come to the museum and give us a special tour. We were grateful for their willingness to serve. We were divided up into 4 different groups and taken to different parts of the Museum. Besides the Entryway, the main floor has 4 large display rooms rooms. There is also a basement with three large rooms. There is a great deal of memorabilia from earlier times displayed there. We spent about 2 hours just looking, and realized that it would take a great deal more time to really see everything they have to see. It also gave us a better reason to visit our our Heritage Park Museum right here in Hurricane.
Twin Pillars for the entryway to the Trail to the Quarry trek.
From the museum, we left for the “Trail to the Quarry,” Monument. To get there headed up Diagonal Street to the very end and turned on 700 west street. From there, to the end of that street. Here it is obvious that there is something being remembered. You come to a two pillar entryway that begins the Trail to the Quarry trek.
This monument had been in the works for several years and was built as a cooperative effort of the Dixie Encampment Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, the City of St. George and local businesses along with local Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 383. They constructed the two-pillared entry, numerous informative plaques, a stone monument and the trail itself.
The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve was also instrumental in completing the project, granting permission for the trail to cross into the reserve. Dixie Red Hills Golf Course, which abuts the trail, also helped in granting access.
“It’s been hard to get to”, St. George Mayor Pike said. “It’s a little bit treacherous, getting up the cliff or along the golf
course. This trail’s been carefully mapped out, worked really closely with the desert tortoise habitat folks as well as the city and the Sons of Utah Pioneers who headed up this project – they raised the money for it. It’s going to be fantastic. I think just about anyone could walk this trail and go up and see a little bit of history.”
The quarry site was an important location where blocks of sandstone were chiseled out of the hillside and used to construct numerous local buildings of significant importance such as the tabernacle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the LDS St. George Temple, the original courthouse and numerous other buildings in St. George.
the project had been in the planning stages for approximately four years, but is now available for people like the SUP to visit and see the work our pioneers had to go through just to get the sandstone blocks to the city center for the Tabernacle and Temple.
The day our small group arrived at the trail to the Quarry trek site was clear and beautiful. The trail winds lazily around the golf course, then back to the south and up a small incline. At the top, it meanders further south towards some sandstone outcroppings. You will find benches along the way to sit and rest, or ponder what you are seeing. There are a couple of well built sandstone stairs to climb along the way, but they are not steep.
You will find a number of plaques along the way, and at the end that describes what our pioneer forefathers had to do to chisel the stone from the sandstone face. Afterwards, they had to chip away at the block until it was formed the way they wanted it. It was still in a rough state when put on wagons and hauled back to the Tabernacle or Temple, where the finishing touches took place for each of the stone blocks quarried.
Dan Zaleski and Isom Grandchildren
Turtle fence crossing the trail
Rocked portion of the trail
Bench along the trail
Devin and Bonnie Ruesch
David & Gerri Hinton
Red Hills Golf Course and Picturesque Pine Valley Mountain
Red Hills Golf Course and the trail
Gerri Hinton on the trail south of the Golf Course
a portion of the Red Hills Golf Course
Bench on Trail
Betty Zaleski, Bonnie and Devin Ruesch
Red Sandstone Cliffs
Trails end Monument and plaques
Working at the Quarry plaque
Plug and Feather Quarry Method Explained
Plaque explaining to those on the trek what the monument is about.
Little Black Mountain
Saturday, May 28th, a few members of the Hurricane Valley Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers gathered at the Zion’s Bank parking lot, and headed out to visit the Little Black Mountain hieroglyph site. Why it is called Little Black Mountain is a mystery, because it is neither a mountain, or black. It is a fairly steep and impressive hill that juts above the ground in the area of Black mountain. Black Mountain is located to the south, and west of the area we went, and can be seen very well from the site we were at.
Our trek took less than 20 minutes to get to, but was well worth the time and effort to see. Along with the “red” mountain that is the main object of interest, there are amazing rock formations that surround it! We were able to see what we wanted to see, and return home within three hours of leaving. Although this was a short trek, it was amazing to think that we have such a site within such close proximity to our community. It was well worth the trip, and the companionship. Below are a few of the pictures we took at the site.
Flora & Fauna
Black Mountian Area with interesting Sky and Cloud formations
Accumulation of rock formations
Parking lot with Ramada & single bathroom
Dinosaur Triceratop head
Gerry & Shirley Buckner
Interesting formation on top of Little Black Mountain
Snake Maw partial formation
Interesting Strata at the base of Little Black Mountain
Komodo Lizard Rock Formation
Lizard on rock
Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site
Ramada & Restroom
Kathy & David Isom, Dan & Asenith Zaleski, David Hinton, Dan & Merry Walsh with grandson, Gerry & Shirley Buckner
Kathy & David Isom, Dan & Asenith Zaleski, Gerri Hinton, Dan & Merry Walsh with grandson, Gerry & Shirley Buckner
Crown of Little Black Mountain
The Martin Harris Pageant tells of the life and testimony of Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the origin of the Book of Mormon. The events that took place in 1829 near Palmyra, New York are presented in the pageant which is staged every other year in the amphitheater adjacent to the Clarkston Cemetery where Martin Harris is buried. A talented cast of local performers present the lively show as the sun sets on the picturesque town of Clarkston, Cache County, Utah
Clarkston, in Cache County, is in a remote spot in northern Utah. And yet, since 1982, thousands of visitors have congregated to the small town every other year. Why? Clarkston is home to the resting place of Martin Harris, as well as the Clarkston Pageant titled “Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew,” is presented nearby in the town’s “Field of Dreams” amphitheater.
Pretty impressive, considering there isn’t even a grocery store or gas station.
“We built an outdoor theater and had never put on a show,” said former Clarkston Mayor Denzel Clark. “We built it on faith without knowing if people would really come — but come they did.”
The amphitheater, marking its 30th year, is expecting 35,000 visitors this year, likely including its millionth visitor in the pageant’s history.
The pageant, a one-hour and 15-minute production, was originally put on independently by the community. As its popularity grew, so did the task of running it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eventually took over.
“Everything is donated as far as manpower,” said Paul Willie, this year’s director. “It takes a staff of well over 100 people to pull this off. … Hundreds of local actors, singers and dancers combine their talents to tell of the events that took place.”
Unlike other pageants, not only does the Clarkston Pageant take place in a real seated amphitheater — it’s also not pre-recorded.
“It’s a real production,” Willie said. “The actors are actually saying their own lines.”
The story outlines the time surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the spring of 1828, with a special emphasis on Harris’ involvement as scribe and as one of the book’s Three Witnesses.
Rhett James, who penned the original pageant, noticed during his research that Harris was a special character, marked by his remarkable memory, enthusiastic personality and bold testimony — often saying, “I don’t believe — I know.”
“Martin Harris was told in a blessing given by Joseph Smith Sr. that his testimony would be heard by many and that it would ‘convince thousands,’ ” James said.
Though Harris is sometimes regarded as a controversial character in the church’s history — from losing 116 pages of the original Book of Mormon translation manuscript to having a confusing relationship with the church for parts of his life — Willie feels that should not detract from the power and spirit that comes from participating in or watching the pageant.
“He’s a great character,” Willie said. “He’s a great witness to the events of the Restoration.”
Along with that, Willie believes that Harris can also be very misunderstood among people who speculate about certain choices he made, when in reality, his example in those early years is one to be celebrated and remembered.
“Martin’s story isn’t too different than what any one of us face,” Willie said. “He wondered, ‘Am I really going to believe this boy?’ Every member eventually gets backed up to the wall of faith and realizes they need to know for themselves.
“His character kind of plays out what everybody faces: Where do I align myself? Do I believe this incredible story? That’s why it rings a bell with a lot of us, because we can see how we are like him.
“It’s a pretty clear demonstration of a choice a person has to make.”
That is just one facet of many. While Harris’ story is the outline of the pageant, those involved want the main focus to be on the Restoration and coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
“The essence really is that it’s a testimony of the Book of Mormon — how it was translated and published, what the force was behind it,” Willie said. “It really isn’t a one-man story.”With that being said, “Without Martin, it never would have gotten published,” Willie added.
Babylon Mills is a place located just below the Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah, and has a very storied past. It was situated near the Virgin River to make use of water generated energy. It lies in ruins today, with the mill totally gone. In its day it was known as the Stormont Mill. It was built to see if the people could increase the minting capacity of the ore taken from Silver Reef.
Babylon was a town associated with the Stormont Mill along the Virgin River, six miles southeast of Silver Reef and twelve miles northeast of St. George. It was established in 1877 by a group of mill workers and their families. Its name came from the Babylon of Biblical times, and was probably chosen to distinguish themselves from their Mormon neighbors. About twenty families, totaling between forty and fifty people, lived in town. There were no businesses; the town’s residents rode to Leeds and Silver Reef for their essentials.
Not much else is known about the town’s history, probably because it wasn’t a particularly important place. Newspapers of the day occasionally wrote about the town, though; in an article published by The Salt Lake Tribune on August 3, 1879, it was reported that “A miner’s cabin at Babylon was destroyed by fire on Sunday last.” An article published in The Silver Reef Miner told the sad tale of a Babylon man who committed suicide.
The town of Babylon relied completely on the Stormont Mill, just as the town of Silver Reef relied completely on the mining industry. When the Stormont Mining Company announced that they were closing their mill in 1887, this spelled the beginning of the end for Babylon. No records of the town exist past 1887, but it’s possible that the town was still occupied in the 1890s because the Stormont Mill was being worked by lessees at that time.
For nearly a century, the town of Babylon lay abandoned, Then in the 1980’s, John Vought an official in the U.S. State Department, met and married Geraldine Ruth George who was the first female diplomat from southern Utah. They had three children, all sons.
John & Geraldine Vought had planned to return southern Utah and build a retirement home in the Leeds area
where Geraldine had grown up. Unfortunately, Geraldine died before they were able to do so. However,
John proceeded with the plan.
Vought bought the old Stormont Mill property and engaged St. George architect, Mary Ann Kozlowski.
John put $250,000 into the building of what he called the “Babylon House”. However, after the home caught fire
and burned down to the foundations, he abandoned the project.
Today only the ruins remain along the north side of the Virgin River. Today, only a few relics remain of the old town of Babylon. An empty home and a pile of rubble where a house once stood, sit near the road to Babylon, which starts just north of Leeds. At the Virgin River, the foundations of the Babylon House, as well as the walls of the Stormont Mill’s office, can be seen. These remnants barely begin to tell the tale of the hard-working small town of Babylon.
We gathered at the Zion’s Bank parking lot, then headed east to Pipe Springs. Our group consisted of about 25 to 30 individuals, and we wanted to learn more about the history of this almost “fantasy” castle. It’s name is the Winsor Castle, but is known locally as Pipe Springs. The fort is built protecting the small spring that flows there. It runs right through the fort.
We found all kinds of old pioneer artifacts at the park, and marveled at the skill of these hardened Pioneer ancestors of ours. They used a great deal of ingenuity to build all that they built there. It was particuarly important to the Mormons in St. George as they were building the temple. The Winsor Castle pioneers had lots of milk, and made an amazing amount of cheese that was used to help feed the workers at the temple site. It was also a beef farm, and provide much needed meat for the Southern Utah communities.
The description of the fort is listed below:
Located near the Utah/Arizona border, adventurous visitors will find one of the best kept secrets of the National Parks system: Pipe Spring National Monument. The monument is a historic pioneer fort located 20 minutes west of Kanab, Utah. The fort was created in the 1870’s for security from the Native Americans, but rarely was used for its original purpose. The fort, surrounding grounds and added interpretive displays are now open to visitors every day of the year. This desolate, remote desert area is home to many plants and animals, largely dependent on the spring water that provides much-needed moisture for life and growth.
One thousand years ago, Native Americans from the Kaibab Paiute tribe hunted and gathered food on this plateau. Other tribes in the area, the Utes and Navajo also roamed these lands. All enjoyed and benefited from the life that the spring brought to the desert.
Establishment of the Fort
In the mid 19th century, Jacob Hamlin, leader of a group of Mormon missionaries came across the spring and named it. He immediately saw the spring’s great potential as an oasis in the middle of the desert and took his knowledge of the area back home with him. Mormon pioneers living in St. George, Utah, brought cattle to the spring sometime during the 1860s. They established a large cattle ranch and began interacting with the local Kaibab Paiute tribe. Though the relationship between the ranchers and the Paiute was friendly, there were some problems with other tribes in the area. During the winter of 1866, members of a local Navajo tribe stole the cattle at the ranch. Dr. James Whitmore, the rancher, and his herder, Robert McIntyre began tracking the cattle and were subsequently attacked and killed by the thieves.
Following those attacks, the ranching venture was abandoned for four years until a peace treaty was signed in 1870. Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, deemed that a fort be built for protection. Though equipped with guns and high walls, the fort was never needed for safety, as both the Paiutes and Mormons were able to live in harmony. The fort was built right on top of the spring and was quickly given the nickname of Winsor Castle, after Anson Perry Winsor who was brought in to run the fort and ranching operation. More improvements, such as outbuildings, fences and ponds were completed quickly.
Two Societies Live in Harmony
There were many changes for the Paiute tribe when the Mormons settled and built Winsor Castle. The most obvious impact was the water source, now located inside the fort. Though this created some dependency, the relationship had mutual benefits. The Mormons benefited from the knowledge and friendship of the Paiute, and the Paiute gained some security. For some time, the tribe had been victim to slave raids from other tribes. With the presence of the fort, these attacks ceased and everyone was safe and secure. The Kaibab Paiute tribe continues to live at Pipe Spring. In 1907 the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was founded. The property surrounds the monument, and the Paiute operate a campground and picnic area nearby.