167 years ago this week the Southern Expedition, led by Parley P. Pratt, was making its way south through our valley. They were exploring Southern Utah for places to be settled by over seventy thousand honest-to-goodness pioneers, who were or would be heading west over the ensuing many years. Their entire were lives packed in a wagon or a handcart.
Parley and his group of fifty seasoned explorers, hunters and cartographers camped where Central Valley now is. It was ten degrees below zero as they chronicled their journey on the night of December 12, 1849. I’d say that’s colder than a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg!
They later traversed Poverty Flat past what is now Marysvale, and actually spent Christmas southeast of what we know as Circleville. They crossed the southern end of the Tusher Mountain range through four feet of snow. They navigated five drainages with twelve wagons, twenty-four yoke of oxen, seven cows, and thirty-eight horses and mules.
I think often of the intrepid men and women who have gone before us and scouted the way. The efforts of explorers, mountain men, traders and trappers, Spanish explorers and so many others are so integrally woven into the fabric of our communities.
Many, if not most, were what can be termed autodidacts; they were self-taught. To me, this makes these amazing people even more incredible. I stand in wonder of all they accomplished to bless the lives of so many, including me!
Next week I’ll write more about these great colonizers, but for now have a Merry Christmas. Remember why we celebrate. He is our light that shines in dark places and is kindly.
Mayor David Ogden