Friday, February 28, 2014

Morgan County names: From Chinatown to Hardscrabble

Morgan County names: From Chinatown to Hardscrabble

Morgan County is home to many historic place names.
Here’s a sampling of them:

Chinatown:  This small section of colorful red rock, similar to Cedar Breaks in Southern Utah, is located northeast of Croydon. It was titled after the Chinese pagoda shapes of some of its unusual rock formations.


Como Springs: Dr. T.S. Wadsworth named the place after Lake Como, Italy, where Mrs. Samuel Francis, an early settler, was born.
Croydon: Its original name was Lost Creek. It may have been renamed in 1866 after a town in England, the homeland of some early settlers in the area.
East Canyon: Mormon Pioneers named it as such in 1847. However, originally it was called Bauchmins Creek, after a local trapper.
Dead Ox Canyon/Peak: Both names originate from oxen dying in the area, either due to snowstorms or starvation.
Hardscrabble Canyon: The canyon supplied lumber for many railroad ties in the area, but it was a hard canyon to get in and out of – a “scrabble” to access. Its original moniker was Mill Creek.
Lost Creek and Lost Creek Reservoir: The creek was originally called Plumbar Creek for an early trapper. However, it was also sometimes called “Plumber Creek,” since it disappears from sight underground occasionally along its course. That angle also gave rise to its “lost” nature, though there is also a tale of two pioneers in 1855, who were lost during a snowstorm in that area.
Morgan: It was strangely named “Monday Town Hollow” at first. The name came from the fact that most settlers moved in on a Monday. But, residents later titled it after the middle name of LDS Church leader Jedediah Morgan Grant (father of eventual LDS Church President Heber J. Grant).
Mountain Green: Named as such in 1859 by settler George Higley for the area’s beautiful meadows, valleys and hills. However, “Deserter Point” was its original moniker, as in May of 1825, a dispute over territory and pay meant that 23 trappers from Peter Skene Ogden’s group deserted and went over to the rival Johnson Gardner trapping party.
Peterson: It was first settled in 1855 as Weber City, being along the Weber River. The name was later changed to Peterson, in honor of early settler, Charles S. Peterson.
Porterville: Titled in honor of all the Porter families who settled there in its early days.

                Modern day Trappers Loop road.                                       Photo by Whitney Arave

Stoddard:  The community was given its title after Judson L. Stoddard settled there in 1860. However, “RumpusTown” was later its temporary nickname after numerous disputes over water rights and usage. Rumors state that farmers needed three essentials during their water turns in the area: hips boots, shovel and sidearm.
Trapper’s Loop Road: Named after the route Indians, trappers and early settlers used to traverse between Morgan Valley and Ogden Valley. However, today’s highway is westward and much higher in elevation than the original path, that clung to lower dips and valleys.

Sources: “Utah Place Names,” by John W. Van Cott and “A History of Morgan County,” by Linda H. Smith.
(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Feb. 28, 2014.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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