Oral Histories

Blankenagel, Norma P.




Establishment of the LDS Church at La Sal – In 1912, most of the people took up their homesteads. Among the newcomers were Fletcher B. Hammond, Jr., George W. McConkie, Samuel W. Somerville, William J. Furr, and John W. Gorman. Soon after, Dillworth W. Hammond, Herbert Day, and his sons Harry and Steven, settled there. Again they were handicapped by such a lack of water. A general citizens’ mass meeting was held June 17, 1917 at which time preliminary steps were taken to establish a town. Committees for various purposes were chosen and work was begun. One of the jobs was to build an irrigation ditch from the La Sal Mountains which would get water to the town. In fact, that old ditch which is constantly in repair, is still used by the Wilcoxes, Redds and Blankenagels for their water. This is where a good share of their water comes from, off the La Sal Mountains. Through that same old ditch Wash Johnson and some of those early pioneers got their water. Some of those early men were good engineers. With the Water Conservation Corporation, they are trying to get a dam built up on the La Sals, so there will be year around water, instead of just spring runoff At Rattlesnake we have two big reservoirs, then a number of little lakes on down where the cattle can water all the way down across the ranch.

The town site was surveyed and engineered by L.H. Redd of Monticello assisted by Alexander Jameson who was one of the first bishops of La Sal Fred Prewer and John Swenson also helped.

The settlers, irrigated their lands from La Sal Creek, which is way up in the La Sal Mountains, and about fifteen miles north of their settlement. They also had a couple of streams from Beaver and Two Mile Creek, and those streams are still in use to day. For recreation, these early people of La Sal loved to sing and dance and put on plays and other dramatic entertainment. In fact, is it funny that one of the things they needed in that first meeting house was a stage with curtains and dressing rooms. So they loved to put on plays and entertainment. During the summer they would have picnic in the mountains, potluck dinners, rodeos, and sports events. They loved racing. They had men’s races, women’s races, children’s races, and horse races. They would even race men against horses. So they had a lot of fun on Independence Day, Pioneer Day and other holidays.

By 1924 many of the families had already left La Sal. All because of the drought. Isn’t that strange it was such a big community and went to such a small one in not too many years. One of the reasons for this is that with bigger and better farm machinery, one man could do the work of many. Larger farms became necessary to be profitable for the ranchers.


Read the other Oral Histories