Monthly Archives: August 2021

Dominguez Archaeology – Rock Pestle

Digital Image © 2008 Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

The photograph shows archeology, a rock and mortar pestle, from the Dominguez Exploration period. The handiwork of early Spanish explorers who were evidently the first to discover gold-bearing deposits in the Henry Mountains. It was found near Straight Creek on the east flank of Mt. Pennell, Two miles above the gold mine operated early in the nineteenth century. The slab is of igneous rock into which the mortar groove was cut approx. 1×3 feet and the groove is about 4 inches wide and approx. 4 inches deep in the center of the sloping cut. The hand powered pestle was pushed through the groove in the mortar by inserting the thumbs in the end holes with the fingers firmly grasping the ends of the pestle.

The Settlement of Bear Valley

Digital image c2004 Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University. All rights reserved.

According to John C. Fremont, a scientifically-trained government explorer, the old Santa Fe Trail on which the large Spanish caravans or pack trains traveled from San Pedro to Santa Fe in May and October of each year, came across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas, then to Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers and up to the Mountain Meadows. From there to Parowan Lake, then across the hills easterly to the Sevier River, thence south to the Colorado River. The Milton Gentry “Fremont Ranch,” of the present day, is located on this old Fremont Pass, thus, the name. According to the “Old Timers “, including . C. C. Woodhouse and Doctor John W. Christian, a Spanish trail came down Fremont Pass and across the bench to the Lee Ranch on South Creek, then down “Pot Gut” to the mouth of Birch Creek Canyon, crossing the South Bench (now Jackson County Hill) thence, coming down the Spanish Trail Hollow (The Big Hollow), the only way of getting off the Bench into Beaver Valley proper. The trail crossed North Creek at the John Willden Home-stead entry, then across Last Chance Bench and turned west to go down the hollow where the old Pioneer Road went to Indian Creek, now called Manderfield, thence north.