Articles from the Lee Family Quarterly

Subscribe the the Lee Quarterly "Cactus Flat" and get all the Lee family news. Not to mention the support you lend to ongoing family history.
Click here for subscription info

In March 1864 fifty-four pioneer families led by Jens Neilson arrived the area from Parowan and other settlements. They came over much the same route followed later by Highway 20. A fort was built on the present school square. Cabins were built around the perimeter, pens and corrals were included for cattle, horses, and sheep. Land was soon cleared and irrigation ditches and canals were surveyed and dug. However, crops planted the first year failed to mature; the settlers gathered and ate frozen wheat.

During the first winter, supplies ran out. Seven men were sent to Parowan for grain. They drove teams as far as the base of the mountain, then proceeded on foot. The snow was deep, and the men sank and could not walk. One man accidentally dropped his quilt on the ground and found that it supported him. All seven men formed a line, laying their quilts on the snow and then walking across the quilts. This procedure was repeated all the way across the mountain, and the trek became known as the quilt walk. Parowan pioneers came to meet the men, who were fed, sheltered, and given grain. The men and food were taken as close to Panguitch as possible, but the grain still had to be carried across the mountain to the waiting teams. A happy welcome greeted the successful adventurers.

On 10 April 1865 three men were killed by Indians in Sanpete County—hostilities which started the Black Hawk War. The Panguitch community was advised to leave, and the town was abandoned in May 1866. Residents left their homes and crops and sought safety in Parowan and other communities.

In 1870 Brigham Young made a trip through
the Panguitch valley and decided it was
time to resettle.

Lee’s Diary Sept 3, 1870, “From Red Creek to Panquich on the Severe, dis.38 ms., was almost a Meadow of Rich luxurant feed for Summer Range. The altitude being too Great for winter. At the distance of 27 ms. I nooned. MaJ. Powel Joined Me (so also did J. Hamblin & others) in Eating a Pare of Baked chickings. Prest. & Party drove to Panquich for the Night, where a large setlement had been abandoned & broken up on account of the Indians. “
Lee’s Diary July, 1871,
“...Bob Smith bought of him a Botle of Red Jacket Bitters, then rode to panequich Lake. Reached about 2 hours after dark. No Person lived here, but some Indians were encamped at a distance. I raised a whoop & soon some 1/2 Doz. or more were on the ground. When they heard My Name (Yawgawts) which means a Man of tender passions, More Sympathy than anger, esay to weep. Although it was in July the water froze in streams & around the edge of the Lake. I told them that we were cold & hungry & Go & get some fire wood & a Pan to cook them in. In less than 15 Minets our request was granted with a good fire, wood a Plenty & about a Dozen fine Trout, Saying that I often fed them when they were hungry; now they were glad to have it in their Power to do Me a kindness. ...More gratitude I seldom found even amoung the Saints; for Many of them that has Eat & been Made comfortable at my table when I have chancd to fall their way, but few of them ever think that I need refreshments, but walk away to their Houses & leve Me in the streets, to seek shelter elsewhere. We soon were enJoying our delicious Mountain Trout which we fried in Bacon Greese.

Lee’s Diary July 12, 1871, “By day light Some 20 Native were on the ground with Strings of Trout to trade. Having some Notions to exchange, by 10 A.M. we had as Many Trout as we could pack on our 3 horses, cleaned & dressed in order, & a gallon of Fish Eggs to supply My intended Fish Pond at My Ranch in Skutumpah & some 1/2 gallon More & Nothing to put them in save the Bottele of Red Jacket bitters & what to do with them was the question. We all three took a drink arround, the balance I divided amoung the Natives for cleaning our Fish.”

Brigham Young called George W. Sevy, a resident of Harmony, to gather a company and resettle Panguitch.

The following notice appeared in the Deseret News in early 1871: “All those who wish to go with me to resettle Panquitch Valley, will meet me at Red Creek on the 4th day of March, 1871 and we will go over the mountain in company to settle that country.”

The company arrived 18 or 19 March, found no snow on the ground, the dwellings and clearings unmolested, and even the crops of earlier settlers still standing.
The settlers first moved into the fort. Progress later brought a gristmill, sawmills, a shingle mill, post office, tannery, shoe shop, lime and brick kilns, a hotel, and a co-op store. The meetinghouse built in the fort continued to be used as a school and for church services. An early organization of the United Order was formed; however, it lasted only about two years and was dissolved.

Lee’s Diary Aug 30, 1872, “...Reached Panquich setlement about 4 P.M. Was greeted by Many of My children, relations & friends. Put up with My Son Jno. Alma, who Met Me with open arms of embrace & wept like a child. The Evening we passed off agreeably.”

Lee’s Diary Sept 21, 1872, “Drove to Panquich & concluded to lay over till Jno. R. would come up with Mules. Drove 19 Miles up to the Fish Lake parly to visit with two of My Daughters & Family, M. H. Darrow & Wm. Prince, & partly to catch some fish in the lake. ...Had quite a visit; caught some 300 trout.

Lee was captured in Panguitch November 7, 1874.