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Kanab, Utah's Weekly Newspaper, Serving Kane County, Utah & the Arizona Strip

Southern Utah News Front Page: July 23, 2015

Southern Utah News Front Page Photo

Honoring a pioneer - Jonathan Heaton - ''Plow a straight furrow''

A new monument honoring Jonathan Heaton was set last week and will be dedicated at the Heaton Family Reunion on July 23 in Moccasin. Photo by Kim Nuttal. 


Editor’s note-the following history was provided by Carolyn Grygla. There will be a huge family reunion this weekend to honor the pioneer heritage, and to celebrate the family and descendants of the early settlers of this area! (Schedule at the end of the article!)

They were children of Mormon pioneers – both team and wagon, and handcart, who literally gave up all they had to “Come to Zion.” Their children we are honoring were all born in Utah Territory – Jonathan was born in Payson, Utah on September 17, 1857, Amy Hoyt was born on May 6, 1860 in Nephi, and Lucy Elizabeth Carroll was born on March 18, 1862 in the Heber Valley. Their parents had been sent by Brigham Young to settle these new areas for the expanding state he called “Deseret.” Their children carried on the traits of faith, hard work, self-lessness, and devotion to community and family. They were the pioneers of southern Utah and northern Arizona!

Jonathan and Amy’s lives intertwined when their parents were called by the church to settle the “Muddy Mission” – now Logandale, Nevada. Leaving their established farms in Payson and Nephi, they set out to build new homes and a new community. At age 11, Jonathan was given charge of moving the company’s cattle herd along behind the wagons. It is the first indication of Jonathan’s gift for leadership that would be demonstrated all of his life. The Muddy was a terribly hard, hot place to live, with alkaline soil that had to be leached out to plant crops. After two back-breaking years, orchards were beginning to take hold, and the wheat was looking promising.

It was now established that they were within Nevada’s territorial borders, and the Nevada government promptly demanded back taxes in silver or gold. Utah taxes had been paid, and there were no funds to pay Nevada.

Brigham Young counseled them to go where they pleased, but suggested they take a look at Long Valley in southern Utah. Many went back to their previous homes, but the Heatons and the Hoyts and many others came to Mt. Carmel. They were asked to establish a “United Order,” where they would live and work for the good of all, each bringing their own skills and talents. They moved a few miles north and built the town of Orderville, for this purpose.

At age 17, Jonathan was given responsibility over the sawmill north of Orderville, and other men older than he. One quote from the Order records said “There was a saying among his friends and fellow workers that Jonathan Heaton could get more willing labor out of men than anyone in the community. The secret of this they claimed was that his motto was always, ‘Come…instead of Go’.”

He married Amy Hoyt, and then two years later Lucy Elizabeth Carroll, whose father came to join the United Order from Heber City. At age 21, Jonathan took his young and growing family to Washington, where the United Order purchased property to grow cotton and peaches for the Order. Again, he demonstrated remarkable success in making a hard plan work when he was able to establish irrigation ditches from the Virgin that made it a whole year without being washed out by floods. At the end of four years, they sold the cotton farm and moved back to Orderville.

Jonathan was then given charge of the Order’s sheep herds, then numbering about 6000. Again, he demonstrated capability and leadership, increasing the herds to around 15,000 over the next six years. The herd was divided into six, with other men given charge of each herd. His daughter Hannah said, “Father would not allow an animal to be abused or neglected.”

When the Order disbanded. Jonathan took one of the sheep herds, some Orderville property, and the Moccasin ranch as his portion.

His growing family now made it impossible to live together, and so in 1901, Lucy and her 11 children moved to Moccasin. Her big family of boys took care of the farming and cattle there, and it flourished. Moccasin became known for its peaches, watermelon and molasses. Her home there became known as The Big House, now a historical landmark.

A hallmark of Lucy’s Moccasin days was the numerous visitors she hosted and fed for at least a night. The list includes numerous governors of Arizona and Utah, and other political leaders, LDS Church Presidents and leaders, travelers from southern Arizona coming up the Honeymoon Trail to be married in the St. George Temple, cowboys, Indians, and numerous friends and family members. She was seldom without company, and her fears of isolation on the Arizona Strip evaporated! These people were offered hospitality without price, and evidently pay came in high esteem for Lucy by these people.

Among her more famous visitors were Zane Grey and artist Loran Covington, who stayed at The Big House numerous times, with the Heaton boys acting as guides to different locations of interest. Covington gave Jonathan and Lucy two paintings as thanks for their hospitality and help.

The same year Lucy moved to Moccasin for good, Amy was established at the Wild Rose Ranch in Upper Kanab. Jonathan purchased the ranch from the family of Daniel Seegmiller, who was shot and killed by a Roundy man over a water dispute. The Wild Rose provided the family with potatoes, mutton, beef and grain. Between Moccasin and the Wild Rose Ranch, the Heaton family was virtually self-sufficient.

The Heaton family grew large, and stayed close. At the same time of the Moccasin/Wild Rose separation, Jonathan organized his 15 sons into a company called Heaton and Sons. Following the pattern of the United Order, they labored for the good of the family, building each other’s houses, taking various responsibilities and generally helping each other out. It was a remarkably successful venture, with their biggest purchase being a cattle herd of 4400 from A.D. Findlay, which included the Pipe Springs Fort and water. The Heaton boys became cowboys – and participated in the large cattle drives and branding that were part of the cattle business on the Arizona Strip.

Jonathan was a man of great integrity – which is well documented by his family. One quote is from his son Herald who wrote: Pa said, “Son, plow a straight furrow, cut a straight swath, rake a straight windrow ‘til you’re done, and that’s how you’ll be known all your life.”

This phrase became the title and theme of the Jonathan Heaton Documentary that has been written, produced, filmed and acted by his descendants. Those who participated have had a remarkable experience together with cousins they may never have met before – and a new bond and vision of their family has been created. Malcolm Judd, of Judd Productions in St. George, has filmed this project. He is a great-great grandson of Jonathan and Amy.

The documentary will premier on Saturday in Kanab on the last day of the reunion – and will be made available to the public the following week at the Crescent Moon Theater. Clive Romney, Executive Director of the Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts, has written and produced the theme song for the documentary, which will be included in his Kane County Collection of songs and stories.

A book portraying the biographies of Jonathan, Amy, Lucy and their children is being released in conjunction with the reunion – “Remembering our Heritage.”

A monument to them has been desinged and ordered by Dennis and Lurana Mosdell, and installed by family members in Moccasin. It will be dedicated on July 23 in Moccasin by great-grandson Kirk Heaton of Kanab. Besides Dennis Mosdell – Don Johnson, Glen Grygla, Ken Burch, Ron Johnson and Ken Heaton also worked on the cement foundation and slab the monument sets on, as well as the chainlink fence. Jonathan and Grayson Bott of Nu-Art Memorial of Salt Lake City made the memorial and set it last week.

Jonathan Heaton now has over 14,000 descendants, including about 25 living grandchildren, now in their 80s and 90s who will be honored at the reunion. The reunion schedule is as follows:

July 23– Moccasin

9 a.m.-12 noon (AZ time) – Special tours at Pipe Spring National Monument given by Heaton family members who were former tour guides at the Fort – with an emphasis on the days that Heaton and Sons owned the Fort during the big cattle days on the Arizona Strip. (A special thanks to Park Superintendent John Hiscock for this amazing opportunity).

1 p.m. (AZ time) – Registration at Moccasin – followed by many events reminiscent of Jonathan’s time in Moccasin – lots of fun for every age, entertainment, visiting, demonstrations and more. The day will include the dedication of the monument to Jonathan, Amy and Lucy Heaton. A celebration at Moccasin wouldn’t be complete without watermelon and pit BBQ – watermelon all day, and Pit BBQ for dinner at 6 pm (AZ time)

July 24 – Orderville

and Alton

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Orderville Cemetery Walk – Visit the graves of the Heaton ancestors, and hear their stories

1 p.m. – Alton Day of the Reunion – Wagon rides to the old Wild Rose Ranch – demonstrations, storytelling, games, visiting, and a smoked pulled-pork and Dutch oven dinner, dancing “Alton Style.” Fun for the whole family!

July 25 – Kanab

9 a.m. – Registration and family chorus and band practice for the documentary song performance of “Plow a Straight Furrow.”

10 a.m. – Family meeting – First performance of the documentary song, and the documentary – which will be shown consecutively at the Crescent Moon Theater for family members. Family history and family fun, storytelling and pioneer games and crafts for the kids.


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