The Settlements of Morgan County
Peterson, settled in 1855 by Charles Shreeve Peterson. It was first known as "Weber City" and was the first county seat designated in 1862. Mr. Peterson was appointed the first Probate Judge. The settlements name was changed to Peterson in 1872. It was the location of the birth of the first white child born in the valley, Martha Ann Stevens, daughter of Roswell Stevens.
Within the boundary of Peterson is the highest peak in the county, Thurston Peak, elevation 9,707. The first public building, a school/church was built in 1861. Official county business was conducted in this building.
The Peterson General Store, which housed the post office, was built circa 1869. Peterson had a passenger railroad station and stockyard located along the railroad tracks. A major attraction for many years was the Dexter Hotel and Park where many community activities were held.
Littleton, centered in the Deep Creek area was first settled by Thomas Jefferson Thurston in 1855-56 after helping to make a passable road through lower Weber Canyon. It was named in honor of Colonel Jesse C. Little, an early resident and member of the Mormon Battalion. The settlement was designated the county seat from 1866 to 1868 when Willard G. Smith, a resident, was Probate Judge of the county. In 1864 the community built there first school building.
Deep Creek had a sandstone quarry where stone to construct many of the homes and commercial buildings in the county was acquired.
Milton, located five miles south of Peterson, was first settled by Thomas Jefferson Thurston and his family, who relocated from Littleton circa 1860.
First known as Thurstonville it was later changed to Morganville and then to Milton. Most of the early settlers were of Scandinavian descent. Milton had several sawmills in its area. There have been a couple of stores located there and also a post office named "Lee."
Mountain Green. The noted Trappers Loop Trail traverses Mt. Green leading to Huntsville. In 1825 three groups of trappers met in the area and disputed which group of trappers had the right to trap there. Some men from one group defected from another group and thus the name Deserters Point was given to the site.
Indian Chief Little Soldier often inhabited the area prior to settlement by the whites. The Indians considered all of Morgan Valley as their ground. The area was first occupied by Ben Simon and his family, who were part Native American. It was settled circa 1855 by George Higley, who was soon joined by Gordon Beckstead and others.
Several dairies and sawmills have been located in the area. The first school/church was built in 1860. Several mining claims were established in Cottonwood Canyon. Although a good quantity of ore was removed the enterprises didn't prove profitable and all were eventually abandoned.
Enterprise is located on the East Side of the valley and has two distinct elevations. It was settled in 1861 by Henry and Stephen Hales. Although choice agriculture land, obtaining irrigation water from the bench land was difficult. Thus the community remained one of the smallest in the county.
In 1863 the first public school/church was erected. Jessie Haven, third Probate Judge of the county resided in the settlement.
Stoddard attracted early settlers with its large crystal clear spring. The first to reside there was Ben Simon and his family, who had also located in several other areas of the county at different times.
Colonization by white settlers took place when Judson L. Stoddard purchased the area in 1860 from Simon. Lot Smith, a noted resident of the area was known for his association with the Mormon Militia and harassment of Johnston's Army in 1857, owned property in the area and is listed on the 1870 census with one of his wives and several children. the extent of his residency here is unknown.
In 1894-95 the first public school building was built in the community.
South Morgan, located in the center of the county was settled in 1860 by the Richard Fry and Daniel Bull families. It was designated the county seat in 1868, the same year Morgan City was incorporated. The county courthouse was completed in 1887. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Tabernacle was completed here in 1882.
The community’s first school was built in 1862. In 1936 Morgan City became the home of the consolidated elementary school where all students from the county came for instruction. In 1915 the first high school was constructed here.
Two early brickyards were located here circa 1865. South Morgan started as the business district of the county but moved to North Morgan where the railroad was constructed.
North Morgan, originally known as Mt. Joy, was first settled in 1861 by John Heath, William Parker, Daniel Williams, William George and their families. Harriet Williams taught school in her home and also operated a post office there. Mr. Williams established a limekiln and built a home/tavern/stage station.
First business was operated by Timothy Metz in Metz Hallow. After the railroad was constructed through North Morgan it became the commercial hub of the county. A passenger and freight station was located here.
Philemon C. Merrill, former bodyguard to Joseph Smith and member of the Mormon Battalion, was also an early resident.
Round Valley is a small valley somewhat circular in shape and encircled by mountains. The Weber River divides North and South Round Valley. It was once the home of Ben Simons. Early settlers were William Cooper, Mr. Elhannon, and later Edward Hunter on the north. John Cameron and Mr. Filshop settled on the south in circa 1860.
School on the north side of the river was conducted in the Hunter home. In the mid 1870's a rock school was built in South Round Valley. During the construction of the railroad Round Valley was a major construction camp site.
Porterville is located in the extreme south end of the county and was first occupied by Stanford and Warriner Porter. In 1859 these men came over the mountains into Hardscrabble Canyon. They brought equipment on pack animals and built a sawmill on Beaver Creek.
In 1862 school was taught in the home of Ann Wood and in 1867 a school was built.
Porterville has two distance elevations, a bench area on the west and valley floor on the east. This created a natural boundary for East and West Porterville. At one time each community had their own school until they were once again united in East Porterville area for classes.
A beautiful gothic style LDS church was built in 1898, it was destroyed by fire in March of 2000. However, as of 2005 the charred brick exterior walls are still standing and can be seen from the nearby road. Nine sawmills have been located in Porterville. It was also the home of the Thomas and Samuel Brough Brickyard circa 1865.
Richville David Henderson, Isasc Morris and Johanthan Hemingway were the first settlers in 1859. They were soon joined by others.
The first gristmill in Morgan County was built in Richville by George Washington Taggart and Morgan and Henry Hinman in 1866.
The first school was built in 1863. The area had one of the largest lumberyards in the territory during the construction of the railroad. Sawmills from surrounding areas brought their lumber here where ties were cut and delivered to the construction site.
Croydon is approximately ten miles east of Morgan City. In 1846 it was traversed by the Edwin Bryant Company but wasn't settled until 1862 by Thomas Condie, George Shill, and Levi Savage. Was once considered part of Summit County. In 1863 it was officially recognized as a settlement of Morgan County.
Separated from the other areas of Morgan by a crude and dangerous road the residents attended church at Henefer for a period of time. Having to rely on their own means several small stores were once located here.
In 1906 the Union Portland Cement Company built a plant along Lost Creek.
Unusual and scenic rock formations are located here. China Town, a miniature Bryce Canyon, is located on private land. The nationally known Devil's Slide rock formation is located in the upper Weber Canyon which leads to Morgan City.
Devil's Slide. Now a ghost town it was the only planned community in the county. It was built by the Cement Company in 1907 to provide housing for their employees. It also provided a store, church, school, hospital, hotel, butcher shop, and clubhouse with a recreation hall. The railroad had a passenger station located along the tracks.
The town was eventually vacated as the roads were improved and modern vehicles made travel quick and easy. It was no longer necessary to live close to the plant. The town was demolished in 1987 after the last resident moved.
Linda H. Smith, County Historian
MORGAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY