Friday, August 21, 2015

Seely Barn ~ written by SueAnn Seely Croshaw ~ Photography by Tudy Standlee

North of the residence of Ray and Mildred Seely (1981) at 430 West Main Street in Mt. Pleasant, Utah stands a large barn, the first built in that pioneer community.  It's construction is unique to the present day and stands as a reminder of the hard work and physical labor of those early settlers.

From information obtained through Ray Seely, and his sister, Elva Guyman, it was built in approximately 1862, 3 years after Mt. Pleasant was colonized.  Huge timbers were brought down from the east mountains with teams of horses and the inner structure was built by craftsman who didn't use a single nail!  All the beams were hewn and pegged so that they fit together perfectly to make a sound sturdy building. 

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 just east of Aunt Miranda's home, so that the animals could have water more readily.  From there it was moved to its present location.

Orange Seely, brother of Joseph Seely and Uncle of Ray, was the first owner and Henry Wilcox, brother of Clarissa Jane who was a Grandmother to Ray, was the builder with much help from other members of the family and the settlement.  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.

In that day, there was always the danger of Indian aggression.  Chief Black Hawk and his painted warriors terrorized the women and children.  So horses were kept saddled and ready in the barn 24 hours a day so that the minute men could ride quickly to Manti or Thistle for help.  Also Indian squaws were kept as prisoners there during times of battle.  It was also used as aplace for dancing where good times were shared by many.

When Dad (Ray Seely) move to Mt. Pleasant, from Moroni, he purchased the lot where the home now stands and the barn went with the property.  Uncle Orange had moved to Castle Dale so Dad became the rightful owner of the barn.  And no prouder owner could there have ever been!  It was his most prized possession, and he loved to tell of its history to all who would listen.  He had great respect and love for the hands who built it, and always did all he could to preserve it and maintain it.  The reverence and love that Dad had for the barn has been passed onto his family and posterity- - -a memory we all cherish.

(written in 1981)

Photograpy by Tudy Barentsen Standlee

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"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."

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