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Early Settlement ~ Organization ~ Incorporation

Jas. S. Robertson ~ General Merchandise

The town of Scofield, lies in the bituminous coal field of Carbon County, Utah, about nineteen miles from the main line of the Rio Grande Western Railroad, and is nestled among the hills that surround the upper part of Pleasant Valley.

Fish Creek enters the valley about two miles below Scofield, and is one of the head waters of the Colorado River System.

Clear Creek and the waters of the Winter Quarters creek unite at the south end of town and flow through the valley until lost among the windings and turnings of Fish Creek.

On account of the luxuriant growth of the native grasses indigenous to this region, this valley was first located as pastures for the immense herds of cattle that roamed over the hills and valleys con tributary to the main valley.

Among the first settlers of this region were S. J. Harkness, T. H. Thomas, William Burrows, O. G. Kimball, D. D. Green, A. H. Earll, R. McKecheney who were attracted hither by the immense ranges for their cattle.

For many years the cattle men were not molested and their herds grew and multiplied until every water course and hill was covered by cattle and horses.

The hidden treasures were not suffered to lie hidden, however, and as coal cropped out on every hand the veins commenced to be worked and it was not long before the discoverers found out that the supply was inexhaustible.

The Railway Companies finding that the coal fields were of such magnitude and covered so much territory began to survey and cast about for practicable routes to reach the coal that they so much needed.

Every canyon that headed in Pleasant Valley was thoroughly explored and the route through Spanish Fork Canyon was finally decided upon, and a narrow gauge was built into Scofield.

Before the railroad was completed, winter set in and the last few miles were laid upon the ice and snow as it was impossible to find the ground, so deep were the drifts that filled the canyon. This was all right until the severe weather was succeeded by the warm days of spring when it was impossible to operate the road in that condition, and it was for a longtime that trains coming into town could not tell when they would be able to leave, for upon nearly every trip the engine would require a new roadbed.

Following in the wake of the railroad were the miners from nearly every country on the habited globe, and the quiet of the cattle men was turned into the bustle and activity that attends the opening of every camp of this kind. Many of the miners being married men their wives either accompanied them or were sent for as rapidly as the miner could save sufficient means to bring them here. This brought a class of men that Companies very seldom acquire, as they were thrifty, and homes dotted the hillside on every hand. The Coal Company now known as the Union Pacific Coal Company claimed all of the land on the townsite, and each one desirous of building was compelled to lease the spot of ground desired from this Company. Not knowing how long they would be permitted to remain as laborers in and about the mines, the men did not build elaborate homes as they knew that should the work cease they would be compelled to leave and look for work elsewhere, and thus would be compelled to sacrifice the little home. Log cabins were the order of the day, as the rigor of the climate called for warm houses, and as lath and plaster was out of reach of the humble builder on account of the high price asked, the log house with its chinking and mud was made to do duty in lieu of a better. The Union Pacific still continued to collect their ground rent, however small, and the knowledge that the miners had of the company that was ruling the camp at that time deterred them from beautifying their homes as they desired. This state of affairs was however not to continue forever, and the rights of the Company to hold the land become to be questioned. Part of their land was jumped and their title was found to be imperfect, in fact they had no title whatever to the land now embraced in the Townsite.

The business men of Scofield then took the matter in hand and Articles of Incorporation were granted after the following petition was presented and acted upon by the Honorable County Court, in and for Emery County, the County of Carbon not then being in existence:


We, your petitioners, residents and taxpayers of Scofield Precinct, would respectfully represent to your Honorable Body: That the following tract of land, being a part of the Precinct of Scofield, contains more than three hundred inhabitants, and we, your petitioners, hereby pray that the said described land may by your Honorable Body be declared a Body Corporate and politic under the name and style of the Town of Scofield.

That said Town may be granted all the rights and privileges of Towns incorporated under Chapter XII. Vol. 1, Compiled Laws of Utah.

That said Town may include the following lands: The SE ¼ Section 32. Township 12, South of Range 7 East, and Lots 1, 3 and 4 of Section 5, Township 13, South of Range 7 East, known as the "Wye."' Also S. ½ of NW ¼ Section 5, Township 12. South of Range 7 East, being lands belonging to S. J. Harkness; and we, your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition Signers

Territory of Utah } ss
County of Emery

I, Carl Wilburg, Recorder in and for said County, do hereby certify that the foregoing petition for a town government for Scofield, Utah Territory, is a true copy of the petition as filed and recorded in my office, March 15, 1893. at ten o'clock a. m.

Witness my hand and Seal at Castle Dale, Utah, this fifteenth day of March, 1893.
Carl Wilberg, County Recorder.

The people of the town appointed John E. Ingles, and S. J. Harkness as a Committee to represent the town before the County court and on the following March the following acknowledgment was received.

Castle Dale, Emery County, Utah, March 11, 1892.

To John E. Ingles and S. J. Harkness. Town Committee, Scofield, Utah.


In accordance with a resolution adopted by the County Court of Emery County, Utah Territory, March 8, 1892, your petition asking for a town Corporation was granted and you are hereby notified of the fact.

Witness my hand and court seal this 11th day of March, 1892.
Carl Wilberg, County Clerk.
Emery County, Utah Territory.


Source: History of the Scofield Mine Disaster, by J. W. Dilley, The Skelton Pub. Co., Provo, Utah, 1900.

Editors Note: The I.. O. O. F. were very active in raising money for the benefit of the widows and children along with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This information is included for historical value, it does not mean the people of this project support these institutions.


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