History of Kanarra Ward

The year 1861, John D. Lee’s first settlement was located on Ash Creek. This was abandoned during the Walker Indian War in 1853. Then was resettled in the fall of 1853, by John D. Lee, Charles Dalton, Elisha H. Groves, William R. Davis with their respective families. They raised a crop there in 1854, then spent the winter of 1854-1855 on Ash Creek. Then the settlement changed location in accordance of suggestions of Brigham Young who advised that a settlement be located farther north where Fort Harmony was later built. In the summer of 1854 building was commenced on the new location. That year a number of Indian Missionaries were called to Southern Utah. (Of course at this time no part of the Mormon locations were either a Territory or State.)

Old Fort Harmony which stood on a hill north of Ash Creek consisted only of a few shanties. The location of Fort Harmony was too far from water. The settlers could not depend on Ash Creek, the water from Kanarra creek to the north would evaporate as well as sink in the sand before the settlers could secure it for culinary or irrigating purposes. Hence they concluded to change the location.

Kanarra was first settled in the Spring of 1861. First settlers as follows: Eliasha H. Groves and family, William R. Davis and family, James G. Davis and family, John R. Davis and family, a number of others who moved up from Fort Harmony and located on Kanarra Creek about a mile north of the present location. Soon after other settlers came from Toquerville, among whom were Josiah Reeves and family, Samuel Pollock and family, Willis Young and family, John H. Willis and family, (other whose names were not mentioned.

These settlers went to work the same year planting crops which yielded a bounteous harvest. In the fall season Eliasha H. Groves acted as President of the settlement. From the beginning he held meetings in private homes. These homes were built of logs. From it’s beginning the settlement belonged to the Cedar City Ward.

In 1862 a log school house was erected at Kanarra. Sept 1862 Pres. Young visited Kanarra as he was enroute to St. George. John V. Long the scribe of the Pres. party wrote the following: (Deseret News, 12: – 104.)

After meeting (held at Cedar City) we traveled on to Kanarra, a distance of 12 miles. This is a name that was of a Piede Indian Chief. Who is still about that part of the Territory. There are 13 families at this settlement which Geographically is a little north of the rim of the Great Basin.

Kanarra was settled in 1861. Here we met Dr. Whitmore on his way to Cedar City. A meeting was held and Bp Lunt who came over from Cedar with us opened with prayer. The president then preached one of the most heavenly discourses we heard while on this journey. All felt happy and rejoiced together. A kind and liberal spirit prevailes in this little settlement. In the company was Lorenzo Snow, George A. Smith, John Taylor, and Ezra T. Benson.

(In May 1863 Lyman O. Littlefield visited Kanarra who wrote the following: (Deseret News, Vol 12, 368.)

We halted at Kanarra for the night. Here resides my father, Waldo Littlefield, whom I now took by the hand for the first time in eleven years. I found him enfeebled by age and the toil of years. Together with the sufferings, robbings, privations, and drivings of the saints which he has so liberaly shared for 30 years.

Elisha H. Groves presided at Kanarra from it’s beginning and in 1866 when Lorenzo W. Roundy took charge as Bishop, he came from Long Valley with others who had been driven away on account of Indian troubles. Bro. Roundy after vacating Long Valley started for St. George. But while on his way he met Apostle Erastus Snow, who requested him to go to Kanarra and preside.

Lorenzo W. Roundy complied with his counsel, changed his plan and arrived at Kanarra in July 1866. Being placed in charge of the settlement, he at once took steps toward building a new town. A townsite was surveyed and the first who had located about a mile north, now moved to the present location, building their houses in Fort stayle, around the block known as the public square. Lorenzo W. Roundy was ordained and set apart as Bishop of Kanarra Ward Sept 29, 1867, by Apostle Erastus Snow.

In 1867 some of the people who had built houses inside the Kanarra Fort began to move our to their city lots while some remained two and some 3 years longer.

Albert E. Griffin and John H. Willis were Counselors to Bp. Roundy, Bro. Griffin having acted as counselor with Bp. Roundy at Long Valley. Soon after his arrival at Kanarra, Bro. Willis was chosen as the other counselor.

Bp. Lorenzo W. Roundy never changed Counselors nor was he ordained Bp. until he has presided at Kanrra for some time. The first settlers of Kanarra built in a string town fashion and lived thus until 1866 when Bp. Roundy and the Kanab settlers arrived from Long Valley.

When the present townsite was surveyed and the newcomers settled on the new site, the older ones moved from their first location onto the new townsite. All in the same year.

The settlers also moved their log meeting house with them. This served for all public purposes, meetings, school socials for a number of years. This meeting house was finally destroyed by fire, the work of an incendiary, a step-daughter of Bro. Pollock, the Ward Records, including her step-fathers private papters. This caused great historic loss to the people.

Patriarch Elishah H. Groves the first Presiding Elder of Kanarra and Church Veteran, died at Kanarra Dec 20, 1868.

The Indians made raid on the town of Kanrra Sunday, 31 Oct 1869, driving off numbers of horses.

On one occasion of a visit by Pres. Young to Kanarra April 7, 1874 (?) a branch of the United Order was organized with Lorenzo Roundy as president.

After the death of Lorenzo Roundy May 24, 1876, Bro. Griffin and John H. Willis took temporary charge of the Kanarra Ward until the Fall of 1876 when Wallace W. Roundy was appointed by Pres. Young to preside at Kanarra. Subsequently he was ordained a bishop and set apart to this position by Wilford Woodruff.

Samuel Pollock, the ward clerk kept records on slips of paper which were finally lost and destroyed thr the perfidy of his step-daughter.

In 1877 Wallace W. Roundy was sustained as Bishop of Kanrra Ward, with William S. Berry as first counselor and Myron S. Roundy as second.

September 23, 1883 William patterson Willis was ordained Bp. of Kanarra Ward. He retained the same counselors as his predecessor.

History of Kanarraville
(Extract taken from the Harmony Ward History.)

In the mean time the people of Harmony Ward found out the waters of Ash Creek would evaporate by being conveyed in ditches a long distance to the Harmony farming lands: so the Brethren decided to locate a settlement nearer the head of Kanarra Creek. This was accomplished in the Spring of 1861. The New Settlement was named Kanarra, honoring an Old Indian Chief. About the same time in 1861 & 1862 John D. Lee moved farther up on Harmony Creek and thus laid the foundation for what, in the beginning was known as New Harmony; but now generally known as Harmony.

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