Southern Utah News Articles
Honeymoon Trail monument dedicated
Members of the local chapters of Daughters of Utah Pioneers and Sons of Utah Pioneers dedicated a monument in remembrance of the “Honeymoon Trail” 15 miles east of Kanab on Thursday, April 7. The two Pioneer Chapters have been working toward this event for some time and it has finally come to fruition. There were around 40 to 50 members and guests present.
Gerald Spencer, past-president of the Red Rocks Chapter of Sons of Utah Pioneers, welcomed all present and outlined the program for the evening. The group sang “High On the Mountain Top,” Bruce Harris, Red Rocks president-elect, offered a prayer and Ron Taylor, Red Rocks president, led the pledge of allegiance.
Mel Heaton, who has traveled the “Honeymoon Trail,” is well-acquainted with the area it traverses and gave some history about the trail. Diane McAllister explained a little about a rock placed near the monument that shows where wagon tire tracks passed over it in those early days.
There were remarks by Daughters of Utah Pioneers president Maurine Smith and remarks by Don Burton, area vice president of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. Following was a quartet consisting of Tanya Meeks, Judy King, Ron Ford and Randy Merrell singing “They The Builders of the Nation.”
A dedicatory prayer was offered by Warren Foote, Stake Patriarch of the Kanab, Utah Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and refreshments were served. H. Dean Garrett has compiled much history about the Honeymoon Trail. Following is just a short bit of that history:
“History is the product of human events, events represented by struggles, pain, sorrow, and sacrifices, as well as happiness and joy. The uniqueness of the history of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona, however, lies in the courage and the faith that it took to keep all of God’s commandments, including eternal marriage.
“The Arizona Saints desired to do whatever was needed, risking life if necessary, in order to be married in the Lord’s temple. The settling of Arizona put the Saints in an area of isolation. Most of the settlers were young and energetic. Yet they and their children were isolated from the opportunity of eternal marriage. In 1877, the ordinances of the temple were brought closer to Arizona with the dedication of the St. George Utah Temple.
“The first trip to the temple took place in the fall of 1881. A diary account states: ‘That fall, these mules were on their way to Utah, drawing one of five wagons making the trip over Lee’s Ferry. This was the first wedding party from Arizona to go north to a Utah Temple, but so many future ones were taken across this ferry that the road was dubbed by Will C. Barnes, ‘The Honeymoon Trail.’’
“Adolf Larsen, who married May Hunt, was captain of the first group, which also included Emma Larsen and Jessie N. Smith. During most of their 20-day trip to St. George, they enjoyed fair weather. Adolf and May were married on 26 October 1881, and they were back in Snowflake by 5 December 1881.
“This trip was the first of many. The motivation of each participant was the same: to keep the commandment of God. An examination of the struggles and difficulties faced by those who traveled the Honeymoon Trail gives insight into the faith and dedication of the Mormon settlers in Arizona.
“If a couple in Snowflake decided that they were going to be married and wanted a temple marriage, they prepared themselves to travel that long, hard journey. They procured a wagon and a good team of mules or horses. They were either married civilly, and then made the trip to St. George, or they took members of their family with them as chaperones and traveled to the temple and were married.
“They would travel through several settlements in Arizona to Bitter Springs, cross the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry, and over the Kaibab Mountain and on down to Navajo Wells (east of Kanab where the Monument now stands), and into Kanab, then on to Pipe Spring, across the Arizona Strip, down the Hurricane Fault to Warner Valley and on into St. George. The trip to the temple at times included a great deal of excitement. In addition to the difficult terrain, there was always the danger of Indians and bandits, plus other man-made and man-caused adventures.
“The necessity for trips to the St. George Temple arose from the deep faith of the Mormon pioneers in the eternal nature of marriage and the sealing power of the priesthood. They knew within their hearts that the act of marrying had tremendous implications in their own lives, as well as in the lives of their descendants. Thus they were willing to make the long, grueling trip to the temple. The trials they experienced, the memories they gained, and the happiness they anticipated, only added to the stories they told of it. They knew that it was the right thing to do.
Thus their descendants could echo what the daughter of one traveler reported: ‘She always told us what a wonderful trip it was.’ Journals of participants in those trips are ripe with exciting experiences and could fill many volumes.”
The two organizations who have worked hard and spent funds to erect this new monument sincerely hope the area will be well kept and protected from vandalism.
They also hope to have some kind of information along Highway 89 that will indicate where the monument is located. It is 15.2 miles east of Kanab and just .4 mile off the highway to the south. The monument was constructed by Marvin Rider of Kanab.
The monument stands on property owned by David and Cheryl Lee Wilson, who gave permission for its construction.
The monument is near land where Dale Spencer of Kanab holds a cattle permit. Spencer did much of the legwork in helping to pick the site, making contacts encouraging the SUP to build a monument marking the trail.