Payson, Utah County, Utah

PAYSON was founded in the fall of 1850. A few other settlements already existed in Utah Valley. Fort Utah had been built in 1849 in the area where the Provo River empties into Utah Lake. It was built along the banks of the river, on low ground, and flooding occurred periodically. The next year a second fort was built farther east, where the ground was higher. (This was at about 500 West and 500 North, in the vicinity of present-day North Park in Provo.)

Then in 1850 pioneers were sent to establish several more settlements in Utah Valley -- every place where a stream flowed down from the Wasatch Mountains towards Utah Lake. Through the summer and fall of 1850 the following locations were settled: Alpine, Lehi (Dry Creek), American Fork, Pleasant Grove (Battle Creek), and Springville (Hobble Creek).

Peteetneet Creek (named after the local Indian chief) was the location of the last settlement to be established in that year. The first group of settlers reached there on October 20, 1850, well into the fall season. Cabins were hurriedly built, to prepare for the coming winter.

"The first settlers of the new colony at Peteetneet were sixteen in number. They included James Pace, his wife, Lucinda Gibson, and their children: William Byron, who at age 15 had served with his father in the Mormon Battalion, Mary Ann, Warren Sidney, Martha Elmina, John E. and Amanda L. Pace. A second family was composed of Andrew Jackson Stewart, his wife, Eunice Haws, and their children, Sarah, Catherine and Andrew Jackson Jr. A young couple, John Courtland Searle and his wife, Jerusha Morrison Hill were there too. Their baby would be the first white child to be born in the new settlement (and also the first to die). Also in the group were two youths, Allison Hill (14), who was a brother-in-law of John C. Searle, and Nathaniel Haws (18), brother of Eunice Haws Stewart.

(From PETEETNEET TOWN, A History of Payson, Utah, by Madoline Cloward Dixon)

A couple of months later, in December 1850, a meeting was held in James Pace's cabin and a branch of the church was organized (the Pacen Branch), with James Pace as president. Later the spelling was changed to "Payson". By the time the settlement was a year old, about 400 people were living there.

More settlers came to the area during the next few years, including five men from the 143 who had accompanied Brigham Young and the First Pioneer Company into Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

     BENJAMIN FRANKLIN STEWART, 7th Ten (1817-1885)
	Moved to Payson in 1852
	Later settled in Benjamin (which was named after him),
	  about 3 miles north of Payson
     JOSEPH HANCOCK, 12th Ten (1800-1893)
	Lived intermittently in Payson after about 1852
	Also lived in California and in the midwest for several years
     LYMAN CURTIS, 13th Ten (1812-1897)
	Settled at Pond Town (3 miles east of Payson) in about 1855
	The name of Pond Town was later changed to "Salem"
	  in honor of Curtis' birthplace
     PHILO JOHNSON, 9th Ten (1814-1896)
	Moved to Payson in 1857 (his wife says 1858)
	Previously had lived in Salt Lake, until "the Move South"
     THOMAS P. CLOWARD, 9th Ten (1823-1909)
	Moved to Payson in 1859
	Had previously lived in Provo



The following ancestors of ours, though not among the first settlers, were early residents of Payson. All of them lived in Payson for many years, died there, and are buried in the Payson Cemetery:

 PHILO JOHNSON
 EXPERIENCE ("SPEEDY") BROWN ELLSWORTH JOHNSON
 EMILY JOHNSON WIGHTMAN
 CHARLES BILLINGS WIGHTMAN
 JOSEPH WIGHTMAN
 MARY ANN DIXON WIGHTMAN
 ELIZABETH HUMPHREY DIXON
 MARY ANN OLIVE WARTHEN SHULER
 JAMES FAYETTE SHULER
 DAVID LANT
 ELSIE TANNER LANT



Other settlements were also soon established in Utah Valley, including Salem (Pondtown), Santaquin, and Spanish Fork (1851); Cedar Fort and Palmyra (1852); Fairfield and Lake View (1855); Mapleton (1856); Goshen (1857); Spring Lake (1859); Benjamin (1863); and Lake Shore (1868). Many of our ancestors were early settlers of some of these other Utah County communities. The following were buried in Springville or Spanish Fork.

 JOSEPH WARTHEN
 LUTITIA SHEARER WARTHEN
 JAMES MILLER
 MARGARET ANN ANDERSON MILLER
 MARGARET ANN MILLER DAVIS
 JOHN TUCKER DAVIS
 LETITIA ANN GEORGE DAVIS
 ALMA CHARLES DAVIS



Other ancestors had come as pioneers across the plains, had settled in the Salt Lake Valley, then had died and been buried there:

 JOHN TANNER
 JOHN JOSHUA TANNER
 REBECCA SMITH TANNER
 WILLIAM ANDERSON
 ELIZABETH GOURLEY ANDERSON



Still others had joined the church in the early days, but had died before coming to Utah. Some of them had lived in Kirtland or Nauvoo. Others had more recently arrived from across the sea, but had died before reaching their final destination.

 AMY SHOLES WIGHTMAN -- died in Kirtland, Ohio; buried near the temple
 CHARLES DIXON - died at Rock Island, Illinois; buried across the river in Davenport, Iowa
 JOEL SHEARER - died in Council Bluffs, Iowa
 PHOEBE BLACKWELL SHEARER - died in Pike County, Illinois
 CHARLES STEWART MILLER - died of cholera near St. Louis, Missouri
 MARY McGOWAN MILLER -- died of cholera near St. Louis, Missouri


Information Compiled
by Craig Lant Shuler
and Karen Bray Keeley

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra S. Bray