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Association: Ephraim Knowlton Hanks was sustained as patriarch of the Wayne Stake, while son, Walter Ernest Hanks served as his father's bishop.

The Town's Full Population, 1902. Caineville Meeting House and Sunday School Group - Sherry Smith Collection
Wayne County Map



Caineville was settled in 1881 by Elijah Cutler Behunin followed by Chauncey Cook, George P. Petrol, George S. Rust, William T. Cartell and others. This log cabin was built by Mr. Behunin in the autumn of 1881, and occupied by his family nine. Mrs. Behunin was the only white woman here the first winter. Nearby cemetery site was given by Mr. Carroll. He was the first citizen to be buried therein. Altogether there are thiry-five graves. The only bishop was Walter E. Hanks.

Despite a large flood in 1896, the town was prospering by 1900. The people lived rather close to each other and gathered often for dances and other activities. Other floods came, year after year until a large one hit in 1909. After that, many farmers abandoned the town. Years later, some came back to graze cattle and do a bit of farming. A few people still live in the area. However, there are many original buildings nestled in the trees and down the old Caineville dirt road which also leads to the cemetery. One of the relics is the school-church house.

Caineville, Wayne, Utah


The town that once was Caineville was situated on the left bank of the Fremont River, sixty-five miles southeast of Loa. It was named in honor of John T. Caine, Utah's representative to Congress.

Having been called by President A. K. Thurber to open this region for settlement, Elijah Cutler Behunin moved there in November 1882. According to one account, Brigham Ney came with him, stayed overnight and left in disgust. Mr. Behunin remained, built a cabin of cottonwood logs, and cleared some land. To provide winter feed for his horses, he cut the wild cane and grass along the riverbed.

The next spring Elijah was joined by his brother Mosiah and a few other families. In March a company consisting of the Behunin brothers, along with William Stringham, Yergen Jergensen, Chauncey Cook, David King and Walter E. Hanks, made surveys for the location of canals and ditches in this valley, and also in Blue Valley.

Caineville School - Retta Gilbert pictured, taken 1996

E. C. Behunin was the first man to take a wagon through Capitol Reef gorge. Before 1882, travel to the lower country was through Grand Wash and down the river. Getting a wagon through this rugged defile was a real achievement. Walter E. Hanks, a young man of seventeen who lived at Floral Ranch, was somewhat familiar with the territory and went ahead on foot to pilot the way. William Stringham and Yergen Jergensen were with Mr. Behunin. Through the combined efforts of these four men the outfits got through, although at times the wagons had to be steadied with guy ropes to keep them from tipping over.

Other settlers kept moving in, some of the later ones arriving after others had moved away. Among them were the Pectols, Daltons, Carrells, Nortons, Huntsmans, Hunts, Giffords, McFoy, John H. Curfew, George B. Rust, Arthur Burgess, Daniel Cook, Walter Hanks, Samuel Allen, Robert Brown, Delbert Heath and Alfred Ostberg.

Since the climate was ideal for raising all kinds of fruit, melons, cane, alfalfa, grain and most vegetables, the pioneers immediately began planting fruit and shade trees, and various kinds of seeds for gardens and field crops. Products which they could turn into cash or trade for goods were sorghum, dried fruits and corn, melons, and winter apples. While the fresh fruit was of excellent quality, it was too far from market to bring a cash return. Each family had a few cows, later acquiring range cattle. The occasional sale of livestock supplemented the revenue from other sources.

About 1900, mulberry trees were planted and an experiment was carried on to find if silkworms would thrive and produce silk in the locality. This project was under the direction of the stake Relief Society presidency, Jane S. Coleman, Sarah Forsyth and Mary E. Hanks. These sisters were acting upon suggestions of Church leaders that members do all they could to stimulate and support home industries. During one or two years the worms produced some silk, but the venture was found to be unprofitable.

For about ten years the people in the Caineville area constituted a branch of the Blue Valley Ward, with William Stringham as the first presiding elder. In the spring of 1892, while Wayne was still a branch of Sevier Stake, President A. K. Thurber came into the valley, apparently looking for a bishop for Caineville. On a late Thursday afternoon he called at Floral Ranch, where the Hanks families were living, and asked for Walter. He was directed to a sheep camp not far away, and told he might find the young man caring for some sheep he had purchased. Failing to find Walter at camp, he left a note which read, "Meet me in Caineville on Sunday."

Mr. Hanks met the appointment and was told he had been selected to preside as bishop over the Caineville Saints. He said, "President Thurber, I would gladly go on a fifteen-year mission rather than be a bishop." The unconsoling reply was, "You can be a bishop longer than that if you behave yourself." He was a bishop for eighteen years.

From spring until July, when he moved his family to Caineville, Elder Hanks rode there each Sunday on horseback to take charge of church services. It was not until December 13, 1892, that the Caineville Ward was organized.

A Town Is Built

When the Hanks family moved to Caineville there wasn't any town; people all lived on their farms. Later, George Carrell sold his farm for a townsite, which was then surveyed and marked off into lots. When people started to build homes there, it was a very busy time, especially for the men who were making adobes, burning brick, fencing lots, building houses and making water available for all the lots.

A Caineville home

Because the American Wash separated the town, it was necessary to construct a wooden flume to carry water across it to part of the town lots. This wash was used as a wood road except during stormy weather when floods came tearing through. Wood for fuel was hauled through it from the area above town.

During the first summer, a bowery constructed for the purpose served for all community gatherings. But before long a new house facing the south was erected, and this was used for church, school and entertainments. Opposite the entrance was a stage, the front curtain of which was painted by Mary E. Hanks and another woman of the ward.

It was not unusual for stake conferences to be held in Caineville during the years around 1900. Many people were living in these lower valleys, and in the late summer and fall there was an abundance of fruits and vegetables to tempt the Saints from the cool upper valley.

During the winter of 1892-93 diphtheria struck the community, claiming as victims seven children. There were no doctors or undertakers within many miles of the settlement. People had to help each other in caring for the sick and laying away the dead. Eliza Rust, a good practical nurse, often went among the people giving relief.

An Enduring Legacy, Volume Seven, p. 37


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