|History of Wilsonville, Utah|
Wilsonville (Emery) is two and one-half miles southeast of Castle Dale. The families of Sylvester Wilson and his brothers George, Nick, Chris, Davis, and Silas were the first to settle in this area. At the time Sylvester Wilson was 38 years old.
A mail route was established between Ouray, Colorado and Salina, Utah over the Old Spanish Trail. The route covered 250 miles and took six weeks by horseback. Sylvester contracted to handle mail over this route with a post office established at Wilsonville, the first such stop on the route. He established a rest station with extra horses at Thompson Springs, north of Moab and hired others to carry the mail, one of whom was Selar Cheney who later became his son-in-law. Postal records in Washington D.C. show that the Wilsonville Post Office, with Sylvester as postmaster, was established 26 September 1879 and was discontinued 18 July 1882.
The mail bag for Wilsonville was left in the crotch of a cottonwood tree at the Wilson homestead until Sylvester built a split-log post office. The building still stands even though it has been moved over a rise to Rock Creek Canyon to the south. It has been used as a granary and for miscellaneous storage.
The only remains of the early settlers in Wilsonville is a small cemetery on Race Track Hill where five babies of other homesteaders were buried, but later moved.
The 1890 census shows 5076 in Emery County with Castle Dale having 409 and Orangeville, located a few miles further upstream, having 353. Wilsonville was not listed separately, as only a few families remained. By 1890 travel over the Gunnison Trail had ceased due to the railroad and better roads built in more level places through Castle Valley.
Nothing remains at the homestead. The present owner states that as a young boy he plowed over the original homestead area and turned up bottles, spoons and pot shards, so he knows where the site was, but nothing remains today indicating anyone lived there. Elsewhere in the valley are located chimney and foundation rocks from the Call home site, the third owners of the property.
The present owner of the Wilsonville property is John Jorgensen, 170 North I East, Castle Dale, Utah 84513. Phone: 801-381-2441. The property is posted and permission must be obtained to enter.
See: Byron J. Wilson, Wilsonville; Utah Place Names, John W. Van Cott
|G. William Wiersdorf|