An Early History of Cache County…

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Compiled by M. R. Hovey, Secretary, Logan Chamber of Commerce. January 1, 1923 to January 1, 1925. Also as printed in the Logan Journal, beginning August 4, 1923.

Mendon Utah Logo

Preston, Idaho 1877

The place where Preston is now located was known as “The Sand Ridge” and also “The Flat.” There was an abundance of wild grasses such as the sand, blue and wheat grasses. There was brush and willows, also along the streams. This furnished good grazing for the livestock owned mainly by the people of Franklin which had been settled in the spring of 1860, the oldest settlement in Idaho. In 1867-1868, Stoddard and Poulter brought quite a large herd of Texas cattle which grazed on “The Flat.” The settlers in Franklin cut the wild hay of the east side of Worm Creek for their winter feed for their livestock.

In 1866, William Head built the first home on the eastside of Worm Creek, known as the North Meadows. Henry Head, a son of William Head, says, “We raised ninty head of oxen at our new home in the North Meadows. We used these oxen to freight grain and merchandise to and from Corinne, Box Elder County, to Montana. Nine yoke of oxen and three wagons were considered as one team for one man to handle. We trailed the wagons. At our new home we planted small fruit trees in 1867 and shade trees in 1869. We milked a rather large number of cows and made butter and cheese. We sold large fat beef for $6.00.” Mr. Head’s mother and the younger children moved to Franklin during the winter months, to send the children to school.

During the year 1867, John Winn built a herd cabin on the west side of Worm Creek, north of the home of A. W. Hart, not far from Bear River. It was known as the Winn Bottoms. The first permanent home built on the westside of Worm Creek was built by Dennis W. Winn, later known as the Gordon Beckstead place. It was a lumber building, sixteen by thirty-two feet, with a lean on the north side. This was about one mile southeast of where the business part of Preston now is. Mr. Winn’s sons, Dennis, John, James, Joseph, Hop and Henden also located near Mr. Winn.

In 1869, Robert Hull used his squatters right on the place later known as T. D. Alder’s. Mr. Hull’s claim was disputed and the land taken from him by a U. S. soldier.

Other families soon located on the eastside of Worm Creek, among whom were David Jensen, Martin Lundgreen, Charles Spingberg and Joseph Clayton.

George Sharp and family came from Richmond in 1877 and moved a house to where the Preston district is now located. Mr. Sharp says he began to work on the railroad section in 1878 when the railroad came across the flat.

The first Sunday school was held in Mr. Sharp’s home on the west side of Worm Creek. Jimmy Young was in charge and Joseph Sharp was his assistant. Mr. Sharp helped to build the first wire fence on the flat. They fenced Isaac Canfield’s land and also planted the first alfalfa seed. By the time the railroad came across the flat nearly all the land was claimed by settlers who came from different places.

According to Mr. George Sharp, the first doctors were Dr. Ship and Dr. Kettlstring. They did not stay long. Dr. Canfield came and was in Preston for a number of years. The first practical nurses were Mary A. Hull, Mary Lunn, Caroline Johnson and Fanny Swan.

The first school was taught by Mr. Johnson in the home of George Sharp in 1877. Mrs. Mary Heller was the first to teach school in the big schoolhouse on the east side of Worm Creek in 1879. The first child born in Preston was Tessie Winn, daughter of Dennis W. and Margaret Winn, August 3rd, 1879. Dennis also conducted the first store in his home. Later William Chapman and James Bosworth joined Mr. Winn in the first mercantile business in Preston. Mr. Chapman was the first postmaster.

The first branch of the L.D.S. Church in Preston, known as the Worm Creek Branch, was organized in 1877. E. R. Lawrence was the Presiding Elder and William Garrison was music director. Mary Hull had charge of the Relief Society work. A little later, Rachel Porter, Serena Jensen, Anna Lundgreen, Mary Hull and Jennie Wilcox were chosen to take charge.

The first Bishop in Preston was Nathan Porter. He was chosen in October 1879.

Preston, with a large agricultural area and being the end of the Utah Northern railroad, soon became the leading town in Northern Cache Valley. It was incorporated as a village in 1900, and as a city in 1912. J. M. Larson was the first mayor.