Tuesday, November 3, 2015

no place like home

[Homework from Letter One]
After months in crossing west the wagon trail made it safely into the Salt Lake Valley. At first Emmy Ries, her family, and their neighbors from Maine the Browns were headed for Antelope Island to settle ranching land but reported harsh conditions and lack of fresh water out on the island caused them to look elsewhere.
They pushed south beyond the settled valley of the Great Salt Lake and the city of Provo, settled in 1849, to an area now known as Spanish Fork Canyon.

This is where it gets interesting in researching the area AFTER Beach picked it for her Moving West homestead we found this bit of history: 

"Enoch Reece (the more common spelling of the name Ries) settled the first home in the Spanish Fork area in 1850; he laid claim to 400 acres of land approximately two miles west of Spanish Fork. Soon after, Charles Ferguson and George Sevey arrived in the area with 200 head of cattle belonging to Mr. Reece, and Spanish Fork had its first business venture." via Spanishforkhistory.org

That land west was most likely the same target area were the fictional Ries-Brown party settled. It is the land around Fifth Water Canyon which offers high plains grazing and a few miles down the canyon a hot springs. It is such good land ranching still thrives there today. And yes, my child and her historical family are settling a stones throw from diamond fork hot springs (smart kid). 
All these photos were taken in Fifth water on Thanksgiving Day 2013. 

More Spanish Fork History:

"In the winter of 1850-51, a few families settled along the Spanish Fork River. By the end of 1852 the population along the river had grown to over 100 families. In 1854, a fort was built in Spanish Fork to meet the needs of existing settlers. In January of 1855 the area of Spanish Fork was incorporated as a city. 

Soon after incorporation, the first Icelandic immigrants settled 
between 1855 and 1860. These Icelandic pioneers established the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the US. 

By 1860, the population had grown to 1,069. Spanish Fork inhabitants were of Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, and Scandinavian descent. In ten years the population had reached 1,450. The first commercial industry was a saw mill which began operation in 1858. One year later the first flour mill opened its doors for business." via Spanishforkhistory.org

The actual closest town to Fifth Water would be Thistle, Utah, a notorious Utah ghost town, that will not be established for another 20 years.  
Thistle began as a farm and ranch town in the 1880s. In 1890, the railroad was established in the area and the town became a service hub for the steam locomotives of the Denver and Rio Grande Western lines. The town hit its peak in the early 1900s, with a population of about 600. In April 1983, heavy rains caused a massive landslide that dammed the Spanish Fork River. Water levels continued to rise, destroying most structures. -Deseret News

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