Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Seely Barn Reveals More History

The Seely Barn is located in the middle of the block between 
Fourth and Fifth West and Main and First North.

A new book, If Barns Could Talk, compiled by Doug Mottonen features the Seely Barn as one of the first barns built in the Utah Territory.  It was built in 1862 without the use of a single nail.  But its history doesn't stop there.  It also served as a jail for Native American women and children when Sanpete County Pioneers fought the Utes and other neighboring tribes from 1865 until 1972.

A look inside the Seely barn shows the master craftsmanship of early Pioneers.

The property stands on ground owned by Terrel and Glenda Seely. Terrel is a descendant of Joe Seely, brother to Orange Seely, the first owner of the barn. Henry Wilcox was the builder and  was a brother to Clarissa Jane Wilcox Seely, a great grandmother to Terrel.  Henry had much help from other members of the family.  One can picture in his mind these men all working together with the horses and the tremendous amount of toil and labor it would have taken to move the heavy beams and hew the rough boards into the work of art that they are.

When the men were lifting the timbers, one man, who they called "Joe Heave", would call out "heave" so that they could lift together the heavy beams into place. It's original construction site was on 5th west, halfway between Main Street and 1st North. It was later moved to Main Street on the creek so that the animals could have water more readily. From there it was moved to its present location.1

Looking closely at the barn's construction shows the care and craftsmanship it took to build in an era when nails were scarce.  The barn's history tells us all of the hardships the early pioneers sustained in settling this area.  

Doug Mottonen in his book says,   "What I found over the years is that if you talked to somebody about barns, it not only told about who they were, but who we are as a people." "There's a little bit of barn in all of us."  Doug's book also features the Mt. Pleasant Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop.  

The book can be purchased at the Relic Home.
1.  taken from history of the barn by Sue Ann Seely Crenshaw.

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Genealogy Quote

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

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