Nephi, Juab, Utah
First known as Salt Creek. The salt springs in the canyon east of the valley gave out water which flowed into the stream which rippled down into the valley. At the suggestion of Brigham Young, the name was changed to Nephi, a prominent prophet in the Book of Mormon.
The first settlement in Juab Valley occurred in 1851 when a group of Mormon settlers arrived near Salt Creek, at present-day Nephi. Their economy was based primarily on agriculture. Most of the fertile farming land in the county is located in the Juab Valley near Nephi at the base of Mount Nebo,
From 1860 to 1863 Goshutes attacked an overland mail station at Willow Creek. As a result, the U.S. Army established a camp at Cedar Summit and a cantonment at Fish Springs in 1863.
In 1869 precious metals were discovered in the Tintic region, changing the economic and industrial destiny of Juab County. The towns of Diamond, Silver City, Mammoth, and especially Eureka became the main areas of the Tintic Mining District, which by 1899 was labeled one of the foremost mining districts in the country. From 1870 to 1899 Tintic produced approximately $35,000,000 in mineral wealth. The metals in Tintic consisted of silver, gold, copper, lead, zinc, and some uranium at Topaz Mountain.
On 3 May 1879 the railroad came to Nephi, and in 1880 the Sanpete Valley Railroad was built from Wales to Nephi for the purpose of hauling coal from the mines. This helped make Nephi a business center and greatly improved the local economy.
The Vine Bluff Cemetery is located in Nephi, Juab County, Utah. Nephi is about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City. The cemetery is rather hard to find if you don't know what you are looking for. It is on the northeast end of town.
Excerpts from the Memories of Walter P. Read History
As recorded by grandson, Adelbert Read Michelsen, Salt Lake City, July 2, 1972
Life In Early Nephi
. . . I have a little article from the Nephi Paper depicting the times between 1851 – 1901. If you can imagine a bleak prairie land, well, not a prairie land either, because after all, Nephi is sitting on a basin with mountains on the west and mountains on the east of it. It is a beautiful little place now, but I am talking about the pioneer people (white people) who went in there when it was nothing but sage brush and gopher wood, lizards, snakes, jack rabbits, wild animals, all of a goodly supply. The Indians roamed around there for it was Indian country also. Of course, in the summer time the Indians would go to the mountains and in the winter time they would come down from the mountains because of climatic conditions. They liked to be where it required the least amount of energy to exist. The Indians were troublesome to a lot of the early pioneers who lived there. They required many things from the pioneers. The pioneers were taught by Brigham Young to feed the Indians, not to fight him. And the Indians, knowing that, you might be sure, took advantage of it and demanded a lot for nothing.
The Indians would live in their tepee. The tepee provided shade during the day for the squaw and the children. They would remain in the tepee while the braves hunted for wild game to eat. They had a funny way of talking care of the older members of the tribe. There is a story told about one of the older men in the tribe. One day some of the pioneers saw a number of hawks sailing through the air and went to see why the hawks were there. You know the hawks don’t stay around unless there is food. When they went out to where these hawks were hovering around, they discovered that an old man from the tribe had been left behind for several days, because he couldn’t keep up with the braves. So the braves gave him some water, a small amount of food and left him there to perish in the desert or to survive as best he could, but in this case he didn’t survive and the hawks were trying to tear his flesh apart. And this bespeaks of the place that Walter P. Read and the early pioneers went to live. They moved slowly and tried to get along with the Indians but found themselves in difficulty with the Indians to the extent that they build a wall in the manner of a fort, the wall to be 12’ thick at the base, 8’ high, 2’ thick at the top. The chief came to the area to talk to the pioneers and said “You cannot build a wall here – you can’t shake hands over a wall”. The wall was built in the following year while the Indians were in the mountains. When they returned, of course there wasn’t anything that could be done about it, and the subject was dismissed.
Hardy pioneers coming into the valley found that they could till the soil, plant gardens, raise vegetables to supply their needs. They could eke out an existence and it became Nephi, quite a nice little village. The people really enjoyed it. They had to make up their own parties, their own social life, own dances, and things to occupy their idle hours. They didn’t have too much time because they were busy, hard working. Later on they incorporated the town of Nephi, Utah. One of the first things they did was to appoint a mayor and councilmen. They also appointed a marshall of the town, Walter R. Read. While he was marshall, he didn’t care much about carrying fire arms or side arms. He had an old sword, a straight blade sword with a tee handle with a shield as a guard. On the side of that sword the serial number and the name of Samuel P. Read was engraved. I played with that sword a good many times when I was a young kid. It used to be in the attic at the old home at 760 E. 1st South. Many, many times, I played with that sword. I haven’t seen it for years and years. I described it as I remembered it. You may know where the sword is, it may not be in the family; I heard it is but I really don’t know.
Grandpa enjoyed company and enjoyed people, a lot of people. Besides being a marshall in Nephi he was a harness maker. They used a team of horses or a single horse as means of transportation. Sometimes they used a surrey with a fringe on top. They did a lot of ploughing and the horses furnished the power for that.
I picked up a letter-head I have of W. P. Read. At the top of the letter-head it says “Read & Bryan, Rooms for rent, Dry Goods, Clothing, Hats & Caps, Boots & Shoes.” Off to one side under W. P. Read’s name, “The best goods for fine family trading specialty.” On the right side of the paper under Bryan’s name it says “We are always pleased to show our goods and name our prices.” This letter on this stationery was written in Nephi, Juab County, May 16, 1891. It was interesting because he was also a merchant as well as a harness maker. While W. P. Read was in Nephi, he bought some property in Moroni, east of Nephi, with A. W. McCune and Thomas Scofield; they were partners, 160 acres and I also found out that when they dissolved partnership that they sold the land and cattle to Scofield Bros. of Nephi. Here are some of the things they listed for sale; 160 acres of land, 1200 head of good range cattle, 1100 head of cattle not on the range, 100 head other cattle on the Q3 Ranch. Their own brand on the cattle was “Lazy U”. The “U” laid on its left side or it laid on its right side as their brand on the cattle. W. P. Read was quite a stickler for doing things in the right manner when the ranch was sold. He filed a publication giving notice of the dissolution of partnership. This is a clipping from one of the newspapers which says “Notice is hereby given that this partnership that existed between Alfred W. McCune, Walter P. Read and Thomas J. Scofield and known by McCuen, Read & Scofield , was by mutual consent of the said parties dissolved on the 27th day of August AD 1887, that the said Albert W. McCuen and Walter P. Read have severed their interest in the said firm to said Thomas J. Scofield, Jr. and William Scofield and Jas. W. Scofield doing business under the name of Scofield Bros. and all debts due and all that become due will be collected and sold to the Scofield Bros. Dated at Nephi, Utah, August 27, 1887, Alfred W. McCuen, Walter P. Read & Thomas J. Scofield”. This was the official selling of the ranch with the bill of sale.
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