by Annella J. Price
(written about 1937)
(Edward J. Evans in our G-Grandfather)
Nestled in a long valley in Southeastern Idaho lies the little village of Malad. The valley runs North and South for a distance of 30 miles and is from four to ten miles wide, bordered by the Wasatch Mountain Range. The Malad River, with it's source in the Northwestern section, runs full length of the valley and on into Utah. The elevation is 4521 feet. The soil is fertile, the climate warm enough for almost any crop, but the water supply is not sufficient for diversified farming. A few small reservoirs have been made but still the water supply limits soil use.
The village of Malad dates it's beginning from May 1864 but the valley itself was named years before when two French trappers, camped on the Alkali Flats in the south end, tasted the river water. It was filled with minerals and tasted bad so they were afraid it would make them ill; hence the name "±la-malade°" meaning sickness.
A Cache of traps found on Deep Creek, indicated that the valley had been entered as early as 1825 and 26 by a trapping party under B.E. Bonneville. The traps were of the same make as those used by Bonneville.
In October of 1863 a group of three men, Edward J. Evans, William Richards and Morgan Jones rode thru' the valley to the Divide. They were exploring the possibilities of a home over the state line of Utah and out of country under the rule of Brigham Young. After a few days they were joined by a man name Henry Peck and his helper, Jim McAllister, who were located on a cattle farm, called the Stoddard Ranch about on the Utah-Idaho line. Henry Peck was a "±Mormon"° but disapproved of the stewardship idea of land ownership.
They built a willow cabin with a dirt roof to keep their bedding and food dry while they explored the valley for soil, water and grazing conditions. The cabin, located on Deep Cree, just back of our Court House, was the base on which Henry Peck later claimed land priority rights.
The next spring Henry Peck brought four pioneers to see the valley. They were: Ben Thomas, who built a cabin on Bannock Street on what we know as the William Evans (treasure) place. Mr. Galter, who settled on the present Morgan Jones corner on Bannock, William Williams who built a cabin where the Oneida Hospital now stands on Bannock Street; Jim McAllister, who took no squatter claim. Henry Peck improved the willow Cabin and considered it his claim. This claim took in our present shopping district, extended back of the Court House, North to the present Jedd Jones family homes. The others, only claimed a home "®lot".
The following Spring of 1865 quite a number of pioneers came in one group. Among them were the explorers of 1863, namely: Edward J. Evans and family, William Richards family, Morgan P. Jones family. Also Henry Peck family, Daniel Thomas family, William Leigh family, Richard Jones family, Richard Thomas family and Thomas Daniels family. Ben, Jedd and Bill Jones came with the Richard Jones family. In the autumn John J. Williams joined the group. Nearly all of these settled in the heart of Malad on the Bannock Trail. They only squatted on what they called city land ranging from five to 45 acres. They made up a happy, busy little community and by Fall, each family had a dwelling and they wanted a school for their children so Henry Peck built a two room addition on his cabin, using one for a school room and one for a store. A traveling peddler, named Al Bundy, was hired as teacher, with a school of six children and a salary of $60 for the five months term. The parents of the pupils gave him board and room free. By spring, 1866, Henry Peck had erected a saw mill, operated by Jas. E. Jones, and Richard Jones, and was ready to receive logs. There is some dispute about which mill operated first, but both mills were used for many years.
Also, in the Spring of 1866 a man named Vanderwood came from Willow Springs (about twenty miles South of Malad) and erected a store where the Griff Jenkins home now stands. John Fallis is also on record as a "±selling man"° but no location of store is on record. More families also came and the little village was a scene of busy activity. More homes were built, first homes improved, land cultivated and the first orchard was planted. The fruit trees were planted by John Nicholas on what is still know as the Nicholas property on Main Street.
Edward Evans purchased an organ from immigrants en route to California and so his home became a center of entertainment and dancing for the next year. Then a log building was erected at the intersection of Bannock Street and the 91 (present) Highway. This building served as amusement hall, meeting house for social or religious meeting if a traveling minister came along.
Birth and death came to the little settlement so a cemetery was chosen on what is now 5th North and the Highway 91. Mrs. Thomas Daniels was the first person to die and be buried in the new cemetery. Two men, a French trapper and a Mr. Shurtliff had died the first Fall and were buried near their cabins.
Laura McAllister was the first girl child born: Sept 6, 1865.
Ben Thomas was the first boy child born: Oct. 12, 1865
Dr. Morgan came in 1865 and opened a drug store and office. The next year Dr. Sherman, a Civil War Veteran came and still later Dr. Drake came and settled near what was the old race track in those days. Many a pony race event took place here. It is said that a love of good sure-footed horses came out those these events and Malad was known for it's breeding stock.
Good cattle, suitable for beef and also for milk was also brought in the second year of the settlement. A pure bred Durham Bull from Iowa was purchased by Edward Evans at the cost of $300 (for animal and his transportation from Iowa) Shares were sold in the animal and his progeny careful built up into better stock.
In the Fall of 1866 the county seat of Oneida County was moved from Soda Springs to Malad. Oneida County comprised about its present width and extended the full length of the State so Malad assumed a role of importance politically. The first election was held in Henry Peck's store. Morgan Morgan became the first sheriff. An attempt was now made to get lawful title for land but only squatter rights were held until 1871. The "±Mormon"° element tried to arrange land settlements among their group by way of stewardship but this made them lose popularity in politics so the idea was dropped, although the church itself, began to grow stronger in Malad.
In 1866 more water was brought to the ranches to the North by a man named John Nelson who diverted Marsh Creek ( that flowed toward Downey on to this side of the Divide and into Devil Creek. Now a flour mill was erected and more wheat grown to supply it. It was owned by William, James and Perry Jones and John Nelson. Our present very up-to-date mill owned by Crowther Brothers is an outgrowth of this same mill.
In 1866 a co-operative Store was erected and owned by Vanderwood, Dan Daniels, Henry Peck, David R. Jones, Thomas Thomas, John Williams, John Lusk, Richard Jones and Henry Wakeley. Isaac Jones was clerk. Our Evans Co-op is an outgrowth of this first store having been purchased by the Evans brothers and co-operated by the laws of Idaho in 1872. D. L. Evans and L.L. Evans became owners in 1884.
Marked by the movement of things in those early times Malad's growth was rapid and progressive. It soon became an important station of the Overland Stage Route going from the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming to Butte, Montana, and the mines of Northern Idaho. Henry Peck also kept a stage barn for the Pony Express and the first Post Office was in his store.
Ben Halladay was the first stage driver thru Malad and the Pony Express was run by Condover and Oliver.
In 1867 the railroad came as far as Corrine, Utah and it brought prosperity to Malad because now crops and home products could be sold on open markets. Two dairy farms with about 75 miking cows were started. One on Devil creek, owned by Edward Evans and one in the Northwest of Valley by (Zeph) Jones Brothers.
For ten years Malad prospered and grew then came a few years of crop failure caused by grasshoppers and crickets. The good freighting business dropped off and now many men had to go to the mines in Montana or into Utah to make a living. But there is no record of a single deserted land claim or of general family desertion in those hard years.
The railroad, on which great hopes were fed, went up Cache Valley, instead of Malad. But when the people had to fall back on their own resources they forged ahead building their community both religiously and socially. By 1882 a new Court House was built at the cost of $12,000. Also the Presbyterian Church, Parsonage and bells erected. Also a school building.
In 1884 the "±Enterprise Weekly"° was issued in Malad. A new two story Hotel was built by Peck and the side walks laid out in the city proper.
In 1892 the Mormon Tabernacle was built and the first funeral held there was Mrs. Anna White Ceaston, Grand mother of our present Colton families.
In 1899 the first big school building was erected. In 1893 our first bank, J.N. Ireland. In 1906 the railroad came, followed in the same year by electric lights and telephone.
Malad has remained a farming center but our schools, railroad and mills serve a large area of farms.
Anella J. Price
(Original is located in the Special Collections library at Utah State University)