Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sanpete Creeper ~~~~ Have You Heard of The Polygamous Central RailRoad?

History of Mt.Pleasant by Hilda Madsen Longsdorf  p 166

It is said that the Sanpete Valley Railroad attained the name of the Polygamist Central because it is thought they signaled the people if an officer or deputy were on board the train.

From the city records of 1888 the following is taken:

About this time the polygamist wave struck Mt. Pleasant, and it was truly a dark, troublesome time, as many of the settlers were at that time living in polygamy. Many about the Territory and in the community were arrested and given a cash fine and a peni­tentiary sentence. A great deal of unrest was manifested every­where. Many men were hiding. As in other communities, there was what was called a Colob Guard organized; companies of ten or twelve men of Mt. Pleasant were called to guard trails leading through Thistle Valley and other districts to give warning to the polygamist if a United States officer or a deputy approached. This guard returned home only at night for provisions.

See:  Kolob Guard

Portrait of polygamists in prison, at the Utah Penitentiary, including George Q. Cannon in 1889, arrested under the Edmunds–Tucker Act. 

*(An article by the Editor, Hal Edwards in the Richfield Reaper, tells us about the train that serviced Mt. Pleasant, and other towns in Sanpete and Sevier Counties.) “It was affectionately known as “The Sevier Valley Creeper. Unless you lived in Sanpete County. There it was the “Sanpete Creeper.”
The “It” was the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad which linked the outside world to Sanpete and Sevier counties when the Marysvale Branch line was completed into Gunnison and Salina in 1890, later into Richfield in 1896.The passenger train operated daily to Richfield, making a round trip back to Salt Lake City via Sanpete County and joined the Rio Grande’s main east-west line from Salt Lake City to Denver in Thistle.
But in 1949, after two years of substantial revenue loss, the passenger train was discontinued, bringing an end to an era which was one of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of southern Utah. ...However, freight trains continued to operate into the area regularly until April, 1983, when a giant mudslide near the town of Thistle covered the tracks.But for nearly 90 years the small but important branch line, which provided this area’s only railroad service, was a major part of southern Utah’s economic development.The railroad actually brought service into Gunnison before 1890, providing service to the Sanpete County communities of Mt. Pleasant, Ephraim, Manti and Gunnison. ...The story is told of the engineer, James M. Bolitho, who, when pulling into the depot, shouted to the crowd, “Git out of the way, I’m going to turn her around.”
Perhaps the only reminder of what was once this area’s most important transportation mode will be remembered in Haywire Mack’s legendary song, [sang by Burl Ives], “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” a song of the Rio Grande Railroad in southern Utah.”While most didn’t realize that was impossible, they scurried out of the way, expecting to see some kind of miracle!
The same story is told of Mr. Bolitho when he took the first train into Marysvale, Sept. 9, 1900. A historical account of that situation stated a panic, occurred in which two women were knocked down by the crowd, another fainted and a wagon driver who had contracted to haul mail to the south got so excited he drove his shiny new rig into a ditch and broke a wheel.

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