The Story of the Settlement of Croydon
Written by Helen Rees, age 13, in 1922
Settlers came to Croydon from Salt Lake City in 1862. They were George Knight, the Shell Brothers, Thomas and Gibson Condie, Thomas Walker, Mr. Savage and Charlie Bunting.
Before this town was settled, there were some men come from Salt Lake to survey it. The leading man was Mr. Fox. There were five other men in the party among whom was Harry Toone, Sr. now living at Croydon. Two years after that the land was settled.
George Knight’s place was whore J. S. Hopkins farm is. Mr. Shell and brothers house is where 0.C. London’s house now stands. Charlie Bunting’s house stood at the side of where Wilford Toone’s house is now. Thomas and Gibson Condie were brothers, their house is Thomas’s son John’s farm is now, the same land. Mr. Savage’s house was built at the side of J. S. Hopkins house.
The houses were made of logs and mud roof. One story is told by my great-grandfather, Mr. John London, “The house that my great-grandmother, Mrs. Helen Thackeray, lived in was so crudely built that they put cow hide on the roof to keep the mud dry so it wouldn’t leak through and wet things. She sat with an umbrella on her head. She is 85 years old, now living in Salt Lake City with two of her daughters.” (1922)
Another story is told by Mr. W. Harry Toone, Sr., “When we awoke in the morning we would find snow on the bed because the house was so poorly built. The houses were so poorly built that they had to put pans and buckets on the bed, stoves and other things to catch the water when it rained.”
The people had to travel from Croydon to Kaysville to receive their flour. They gathered and cut wood to trade for flour.
The Indian’s camping grounds were in the trees at the creek bank. One day one of the Indians died and they set up a war-hoop that lasted for three days and nights. The Indians came through in train loads, a half a mile long, the women on the horses back with papooses on their back and the tent poles dragging from the side of the horses, one end of the pole tied to each side and the other end dragging.
They brought calico and other things to trade for food. My Grandma, Mrs. Annie Thackeray, said she could remember when she had a new calico dress that the goods had been traded from Indians.
There were five men and women came from Farmington to the mouth of Weber River to gather berries. While picking the berries a band of Indians surrounded their wagon and were just about to kill one of them when one woman who was in the party arose up in the wagon, she had the spirit of the Lord so great that she spoke to them in their own language and told them how wrong it was for them to kill people. Then they all knelt down by her and told her she was the great spirit, they left without harming anybody.
They had cold hard winters and very much snow. When my grandma, Mrs. Annie Thackeray went to school, going from the house to the gate, she said the snow had been shoveled from the path and on both sides the snow was five feet before the loose snow had been piled on. When the snow was crusted she and others would walk on top of it and step on top of the fence posts.
The first school house was built behind where the Croydon meeting house now stands. (White frame building on corner now torn down.) The same logs were used for a barn. The benches were made from huge logs flattened and smoothed so they could write on it, the benches being placed along the side of the room. The school was one room. They sent east for their pencils, costing about 7 cents a piece. Slates were used for paper.
The first teachers were chosen because they were brighter or knew more than others. Most of the teachers were Latter-day Saint people. Mr. Harry Toone, Sr. and Mr. Bunting went to Echo and voted for the school.
Mr. Bunting was the first postmaster. Mr. John London was the second postmaster. Mr. London is now 82 (1922) years of age living at Croydon, and now janitor of the Croydon school. Mr. Bunting was not very tall but very fat, he could not walk over plowed ground or he would fall down he was so fat, so he hired a boy to drive a spring wagon over the land so he could throw out the grain in planting. He wan the man who painted the mottos that hang in the meeting house now. He was “well-to-do” in those days, as they expressed it, always wore a white shirt.
People thought they were rich when they owned a buggie. Most rode in spring wagons. Butter was $1.00 a lb., flour $10.00 a sack.
There is many historical places in Echo Canyon where the Mormon people came through on their journey to Salt Lake Valley; forts, old stage stations, old houses, rocks and such. The pulpit rock is one thing where Brigham Young stood upon to give his sermon to the soldiers, and many other rocks that were piled up to push on Johnson’s army. There is an old rook building which was used for a stage station, the building stands now beside a now garage built in 192l, in the mouth of Echo canyon.
The railroad ran down Echo canyon in 1868-9. When the Mormon soldiers came to Echo canyon to protect the settlements from Johnson’s army, they dug holes in the ground and made a tent over the top of the hole and in there the men slept, some of these holes and frames can be seen today.
They worked by night when the railroad was built, by light from large bonfires made of sagebrush. They baked their bread in rock ovens. The men built a rook oven, then made a fire inside, when the rocks became hot they scooped out the fire, washed it with water, put the dough in and in this way the bread was baked. They put a bit of dough on the rocks to test the heat, if the bread browned in a few minutes the rocks were hot enough, the heat from the rocks cooked the bread. The bread was made of flour, water, salt, and sometimes grease.
Mr. W. H. Toone, Sr. and Mr. John Lyon Toone worked for the railroad. One day they cut wood for ties. When the manager looked them over he found the ties all right and told them he would give them one dollar a piece for them and the same price for others they brought in.
Echo canyon was given the name because the cliffs are so high that the canyon echoes when a sound is made.
Croydon received its name from the government because the people wanted a post office.
Devils Slide received its name because there is a large rock slide, slides four to five feet high, the rocks stretching from the top of the hill to the bottom.
Lost Creek received its name because it water falls under ground and then comes out again farther down stream.
Near Devil’s Slide town, on the very top of a hill, a large rock stands. There is a large hole in the rock big enough for a large load of hay to pass through. It is called the Devil’s Looking Glass.
Weber River received it name from a man called Mr. Weber living in the same canyon. There is a deep gulley where the railroad runs through, also the road and the Weber River. It is called the “Narrows.” As Weber River comes from the narrows, Lost Creek enters it. Road runs on one side, railroad tracks built on the other, the river running through the center. The railroad is called the Union Pacific Railroad.
There is a bill in Croydon called the red hill because the dirt is red, more so when wet. Indian paint brush, bluebells and a yellow buttercup grew on the hill which was picked for Decoration Day