and below this historic spot for great distances, the Green River tumbles
down a giant stairway of wild cataracts that lie deep in the bottoms
of impenetrable canyons. It is a quiet spot where the river runs deep
and broad —a plateau that forms a natural pass for travel from east
to west and vice versa. It was here that Spaniards
from New Mexico crossed on their trading missions to California,
creating the famous Spanish Trail. After leaving the river they travelled
westward to the Ferron area, then turned
southwestward to Salina Canyon and on to California. Upon consulting
a map, it is easy to see that they would have crossed the headwaters
of the San Raphael River, which refreshed them through this span of
their journey. These same streams —Huntington, Cottonwood and Ferron
creeks —sustained the first LDS settlements
in Castle Valley.
a missionary party en route to Moab painstakingly
made its way over the trail in 1855, and three men —Dimmick, William
and Oliver Huntington —explored the area during the 1850s, serious colonization
did not begin until much later, and then it started as a sporadic movement
of stock herders who brought their herds here when feed was scarce in Sanpete, Sevier and other settled valleys.
the spring of 1875 four stockmen, Leander Lemmon, James McHadden, Bill
Gentry and Alfred Starr, brought horses over the mountain from Sanpete
through Huntington Canyon into what is
now Huntington, and McHadden and Lemmon, intrigued by the area, decided
to homestead 320 acres and were soon working on an irrigation ditch.
These two men are given the credit as being the first settlers in the
valley, but perhaps the honor should be divided four ways, for all four
men built dugouts and stayed through the winter of 1875-1876. Lemmon
built a log cabin on his homestead the following year, and soon herds
of sheep and cattle were brought in.