Ghost Town: Shunesburg

Discussion in 'Ghost Town Database' started by LiveRust, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. LiveRust

    LiveRust Member Registered

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    Site: Shunesburg
    Alternate Names: Shonesburg, Shuensburg and Shirensburg
    County/State: Washington County, Utah
    Years of Occupation: 1861-1902
    Status of Site: Closed
    Classification: Class 3 - Abandoned Town
    Type: Agricultural
    Remnants: One principal building, cemetery

    Located on the East Fork of the Virgin River near the mouth of Parunuweap Canyon. Near present day Springdale and Rockville. Near Zions National Park. The location of the town is on private property which until recently was owned by a family in New York who would not allow visitors to site. Property is currently up for sale and local caretaker is more willing to allow visitors with appointment. http://www.mirrranchgroup.com/ranches/trees-ranch

    Settlement was by call from then LDS church President Brigham Young as part of the Cotton Mission. Families from Sanpete County, including Oliver DeMille, were called to establish this settlement in an effort to grow cotton. Land was purchased by Oliver DeMille from the Paiute Chief Shones, which gave it the name of Shunesburg. Early crops in addition to cotton were sugar cane and corn.

    Settlement had great deal of difficulties due to unpredictable nature of the Virgin River as well as persistent Indian raids. Residents of Shunesburg were forced to relocate to nearby Rockville on a number of occasions only to return when agreements were made with the Indians. Finally in 1896 most residents left for good and finally the last resident, Oliver DeMille relocated to Rockville in 1902.

    oliver demille.jpg
    Picture of Oliver DeMille's home in Shunesburg, last remaining structure. Most recent reports of home is that they have poles propped up to walls in an attempt to stop it from falling over.

    Links:
    http://www.onlineutah.com/shunesburghistory.shtml
    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=109369
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~utwashin/towns/shunesbu.html
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~utwashin/towns/shunesbu.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2014
  2. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    Right on, this is a ghost town that didn't even appear on the master list I am assembling. Thanks Troy! :cool:
     
  3. LiveRust

    LiveRust Member Registered

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    Shunesburg was just up the road from Grafton and had similar trouble with Virgin River. Grafton has been kept up much better and certainly more open to visitors. I visited Grafton a couple years back and might write up that one too. Interesting project Kurt.
     
  4. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    Really excited to have you helping with this Troy. You will be hearing more about the project but we have partnered with several other Utah groups with hopes to make this the best database of Utah ghost towns in existence. Eventually we will have presentations, tours, etc.

    Would love to see some of your pics from Grafton ;)
     
  5. Don B

    Don B Member Registered

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    Another interesting feature of Shunesburg is the mail drop just up the canyon where they would lower the mail by rope down the cliff, considerably cutting the distance between the settlements on the Virgin river and the settlements in Long Valley and Kanab.
     
  6. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    Very interesting Don. :cool:
     
  7. roverrocks

    roverrocks EU Contributor Contributor Registered

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    Very fascinating information. So many interesting places to visit.
     
  8. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    Some additional Shunesburg pics courtesy of Ghost Towns: Yesterdays & Today on FB.

    Shunesburg_1.jpg

    Shunesburg_2.jpg
     
  9. TroyDeMill

    TroyDeMill Member Registered

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    Not sure if this is appropriate here or not, you can delete it if you wish. I've just been looking at these ghost towns and thinking about how many of my family were involved with so many of them. Maybe my family were bad luck to have move into the neighborhood. Looking at just the DeMill Family. Oliver DeMill's father Freeborn was born back in Platskill New York. Moved to Colesville NY and became neighbors to Joseph Smith. Oliver was born there and the family were "asked" to leave Colesville and moved to Thompson Ohio. Soon they were asked to leave there and moved to Kaw Township in Jackson County Missouri. Kaw Township was 12 miles West of Independence and was later absorbed into greater Kansas City. Not sure if that made Kaw Township a "ghost town". In either case they were only in Kaw two years before they were forced to leave in December of 1833 to Clay County where they again built houses and tried to create a city. They were driven from Clay County and relocated in Caldwell county which the State of Missouri created for the sole purpose of relocating Mormons to. They created a City they called Far West. This become a ghost town which I visited a few years back. Just a few foundations and chimney remain if I remembered, and a memorial that was erected many years later to commemorate the final eviction of Mormons from Missouri. The DeMill's were in Far West just 2 years before they were kicked out of Caldwell County and settled in Quincy Ill. They built houses there and three years later they moved to Nauvoo Ill in 1842. In 1846 DeMill's were driven from Nauvoo to a settlement that was called Mt. Pisgah in Iowa. This is also a "Ghost Town" now with a couple cabins and memorial to identify it as one of the many stations that were created on the Migration of Mormons to Utah. In 1850 the DeMill's were able to make it to Salt Lake City where they were directed to settle in Manti Utah. Not long after being in Manti Oliver DeMill was assigned to join his sister and her husband in settling the town of Shonesurg Utah. The DeMills and other settlers there tried to make a go of it as mentioned in the history of Shonesburg until they finally gave up and moved to Rockville, which itself would become listed as a Ghost Town as well. So if it wasn't the neighbors kicking the DeMill's out for being Mormons, it was the Virgin River driving them out . But in either case, Oliver lived in at least 6 places which would become Ghost Towns.
    Curious how common this was for people in the early days as towns would come and go. Oliver never lived in Clarion Utah, that was his nephew who tried to make a go of life in the struggling Jewish settlement and added to another DeMill in a Ghost town. Oliver's cousin Jesse Knight went into mining and created Knightsville (ghost town)
    My mother's side of the family were Ivory's who settled in Fort Fountain Green (ghost town) and Blains and Allreds who settled Spring City (Allred Settlement) which is listed as a ghost town. My father in law was born and raised in Castle Gate (ghost town) and later moved to Sunnyside (ghost town). My Mother in Law's family settled Cove Fort (Ghost town).
    So look out East Millcreek, you might be next on the Ghost town list
     
  10. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member Supporter Contributor Registered

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    I think it is perfectly appropriate and really interesting too!

    My family is quite the opposite as best I know. They came from big cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. Both sides came across the plains in the early Mormon parties. One settle Draper (his cabin is in Draper Park) and the other settle Richfield (his cabin is in This is the Place State Park). We've all been city slickers since :D
     
  11. Udink

    Udink Member Registered

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    Way interesting, thanks for posting this!

    I hope you all don't mind me posting an excerpt from a visit to the Shunesburg mail drop, from a trip report that I wrote about a weekend in southern Utah:

    On Saturday we had a larger group and everyone piled into three Jeeps--Paul and I drove our WJs and Ken took his JK--to explore an area northwest of Coral Pink Sand Dunes. We drove past Elephant Butte, stopping briefly for a geocache, and continued north to Shunes Hollow where we parked at the end of the road at the wilderness boundary. My Grand Cherokee got stuck in the soft, deep sand several times and I had to shift into 4WD to get unstuck. I was using the 4WD sparingly, though, because of a noise coming apparently from the front driveshaft. From the parking area we made an easy 1/2-mile walk through a wash to the top of the Shunesburg mail drop. Here, in the late 1800s, mail was raised and lowered over the tall cliffs on a rope (a good history of Shunesburg and the mail drop can be found here). In the wash there were a number of different animal tracks including cougar, bobcat, and a three-toed coyote!


    Bogged down in the sand at Elephant Butte
    [​IMG]

    Zion National Park in the distance
    [​IMG]

    Rock at Elephant Butte
    [​IMG]

    End of the road in Shunes Hollow
    [​IMG]

    Hiking the wash in Shunes Hollow
    [​IMG]

    View into Shunes Creek from the mail drop
    [​IMG]

    Shunes Creek cliffs
    [​IMG]

    Shunes Creek cliffs
    [​IMG]

    Three-toed coyote tracks
    [​IMG]

    Broad Hollow
    [​IMG]

    Cabin in Broad Hollow
    [​IMG]

    The BACON8R in my mirror
    [​IMG]
     
  12. GregW

    GregW Member Registered

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    Good posts, I want to go. I think it would surprise us to find how many of our ancestors lived in the same places, may of known each other or were related. My family came from Scotland and England as well then like TroyDeMill's family were called to help settle the Ogden area then to Manti and over the mountain to Emery and Carbon Co. They were in Castle Gate, Mutual and Sunyside. All ghosts towns now. The Family finally settled in Orangeville, not a ghost town but it has plenty of ghosts. I grew up playing in the Swell and on the mountain(Manti). 10 or 12 years ago I took my dad, who was born in Mutual back to see what was left. That was a neat experience. We found the remains of their house, his Father had built the bording house then worked in the coal mine while his Mother ran the bording house. We found what was left of the front door and I made a small plaque using part of the door and the door knob for Dad, he thought that was pretty cool. Spring Canyon is a great place to explore. It's west of Helper and has a lot of old mining activity and a few ghost towns. A lot of history down there. There are a couple of the ghost towns that are gated off, with a guard. I have found if you stop and visit with them with assurance you will do no damage or do not disturb the ghosts they will be most accommodating and let you poke around. Neat places to see.
     

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