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The Redd and Butler Families and other Early Settlers of Spanish Fork, Utah, 1850-1860

by Ephraim and Verena Hatch

This is a chronology of Redd and Butler activities to guide descendants on a tour to sites of their homes, farms, sawmills, etc. in Spanish Fork, Utah.


In the fall, Enoch Reese, with Charles Ferguson and George Sevey, hired to care for 200 head of cattle on Enoch’s 400 acres of land in Spanish Fork river bottoms begin the settlement of Palmyra. Others followed and settled with them in what was later known as the Lower Settlement. (Ottesen 4)

Site 1

Possible site of Butler and Markham lower farms

Possible site of Butler and Markham lower farms

That winter the census of Utah County taken between Sept 20 and December 31, 1850 lists not only John Hardison Redd’s family but also two black women, Venus and Chancey, with two children each, Luke -19 , Marinda -18, Ann -14 and Sam, age 17. They were given to Elizabeth by her father, had been freed, but knew no other family so came with the Redds. No doubt they were a big help to this family. (Redd 292)

During the winter of 1850, John Holt, John H. Redd, William Pace and two other men, Patrick and Glenn created an Upper Settlement, 4 miles up river, to the east. (Redd 292)

Site 2


During this year more settlers came, and the first land was broken, In January, Enoch Reese and John H. Redd, in partnership began a saw mill on the river. John H. Redd kept a running record of the expenses from February 10, 1851 to July 1852.

January 24, 1852 Reese sold his share to Samuel Thompson, son-in-law to John Holt. The sawmill construction continued under partnership of Samuel Thompson, John H. Redd, John Holt and William Pace. (Redd 240-241)

Site 3

In the Spring of 1851 their crops were planted and all seemed to be going will when on May the 5th Mary Catherine Redd, age 17, suddenly took sick and died within a few hours.

In the Fall 1851 a good crop was harvested in both Upper and Lower Settlements.

An LDS Branch called Palmyra (Palmyree) was organized in December of 1851, with Stephen Markham, President, John Holt and John H. Redd as counselors, and William Pace, as first Bishop. Population had increased to seventy-five families. Palmyra contained 360 lots, of one hundred rods each; a temple square of thirteen acres, and four school squares of two and a half acres each. Streets were six rods wide. (Ottesen 4, 257)


June 13, leaving his first wife, Caroline and 10 children in salt Lake City with John’s sister, Lucy Ann, John Lowe Butler and his plural wife, Sarah, parked their wagon in Palmyra’s Upper Settlement, near the Holts, Redds and Paces, their neighbors from Tennessee. Racing against the onset of winter, they labored to build a shelter and break land for a farm. John, and and adult son Taylor, cleared off and claimed two farms, In November one snowstorm dropped 3″ of snow and another accumulated one to two feet. Palmyrans suffered “a great loss of cattle” that winter. John’s cow and ox both died, so he was without transportation and milk. (Hartley 255, 258-259)

In November, John Hardison Redd paid Nathaniel Jordan for doors, windows, lumber for foundations, lintels and flooring for a school house. Apparently no further work was done on the sawmill until 17 May 1853. (Redd 244)

“During the winter the town was nearly all underground, though a few persons put up log rooms” (diary of Isaac Brockbank Jr, a settler) Many lived in dugouts, pits four to five feet deep with steps leading down into the room from one end and a roof usually made of willows and mud. (Harley 259 and Ottesen 7) This second resource contains a picture and description of a dugout.


February, John Lowe Bulter’s family reunited, and weather soon became mild and pleasant. Early in the year a post office was established which put the settlers in communication with the rest of the world. March 22 saw the reorganization of local church leadership with Stephen Markham, bishop of the Palmyra ward, and William Pace bishop of the Upper Settlement.

In April, some of the Bulter family made the trip to Salt Lake City for General conference and laying of the Salt Lake Temple cornerstones. During the spring runoff, the Spanish Fork river flooded and drowned Dick and Larry, beloved oxen which had brought the Butlers safely across the plains. (Hartley 259)

The Walker War began July 18, 1853 and lasted to August 12, 1854. Palmyra citizens took refuge in the schoolhouse on July 186h. By mid-August harvesting had to be done under guard and animals had to be herded to safer ground.

John H. Redd’s sawmill was burned down by the Indians, a $6,000 loss to the community. November 25th, 1853, John and Elizabeth suffered an even greater loss when their fifteen year old son, John Holt Redd, was thrown from a horse and killed. Elizabeth, heartbroken, died three days later on the 28th. all three were buried in the Redd cemetery now referred to as the Pioneer Cemetery. The plaque on the monument bears the following description: “Pioneers were buried here between 1851 and 1866 when this cemetery was abandoned. James Higinson was sexton. The bodies of those who remain here are Sara Holt Tindral, John Hardison Redd, Elizabeth Hancock Redd, Mary Gardner Sweeten, Helen W. McKell and the following children, Mary Catherine Redd, John Hot Redd, Mary Mariah Pace, Mary Ann Pace, Lucy Ann Bowen, Julia Susannah Bowen, Mary King, Phoebe Justin Darger, Onan Thomas, infant son Raymond and about thirty-five others.”

John Hardison Redd Cemetery
John Hardison Redd Cemetery Plaque

Site 4

By October the 404 residents “forted up” in the Lower settlement including the Butlers and others from the Upper Settlement. “Fort Palmyra was 40 rods square with walls ten feet high. Cabins built to adjoin each other in order to create an outer wall, formed a hollow square that served as corral and stockyard. Families lacking cabins built dugouts in the ground inside the fort.

During a November snowstorm, Indians stole about fifty head of stock, and nearly eighty more on February, 1854. (Harley 260-261)

Site 5

Fort Palmer Monument

1854 – John Lowe Butler

Like many of the settlers, the Butlers were in great need of income and food. John and son, Taylor finished their spring planting. John and John W. Mott built a threshing machine, john L. doing the iron work and Mott the woodwork. (Redd 365) He sold his last yoke of cattle for food for his family and decided to go to Fort Bridger. he made a bargain with John Mott to give him his first fifty dollars earned if he would take the wagon and his tools out there for him, which he did. They arrived by mid-May. (Harley 263) John endured trouble with Indians and drunken, unruly California immigrants, but did a good business. he fitted out a shop built a forge and went into business.

Some customers paid John for his services by trading him worn-out cattle or horses which he turned out on good feed, then traded them off for some more, repeating the process until he had a small herd. He returned home in time for Fall harvesting, with plans to do it again the next summer. (Hartley 266-268)

On March 26th, 1854 just before John left for Fort Bridger, Caroline delivered her last child, Alvaretta Farozine. She and John’s plural wife, Sarah and the older children cared for the home, farm and children. Two Indians brought two cows and a yearling to trade for blankets. They cows were almost dry, little milk for so many. like other settlers they likely dug sego roots. Caroline often walked about five miles for milk.

The older girls learned how to wash, dry and dye wool from sheep, card it, spin it, then weave cloth on their homemade loom. They also learned how to knit stockings and sew dresses. (Hartley 263)

Site 6

Fort Bridger Plaque

John Hardison Redd

John Hardison Redd and others wanted a fort closer to their homes in the Upper Settlement. Apostle George A. Smith objected so they turned to President Brigham Young who said it should have been built there in the first place. By November, sixteen houses, each a story and a half were built around the square, the windowless backs forming the outside of the fort wall. It was 100′ long North and South and 60′ wide East and West with one entrance, a large gate of 2″ plank doubled crossways, making it 4″ thick, two folding doors swinging on the inside. This was one of the best fortifications found in any Mormon settlement. (Harley 269-270) Those who lived in the fort had a night corral for their cattle about sixty feet from the fort. They were turned out during the daytime and corralled at night. (Hartley 272)

On December 5, 1854 Bishop William Pace performed two marriages, the first in the settlement, both children of John Lowe and Caroline Butler: They were Kenion Taylor Butler, age 21 and Olive Durfey, age 18, and on Dec 8th, Phoebe, almost 17, to George Washington Sevey.


“On January 19, 1855, the Utah Territorial Legislature granted the Palmyra-Fort St. Luke settlement (Upper Settlement) a city charter, allowing it to create a government and to be renamed Spanish Fork…The town was surveyed, platted into nine blocks, each 24 rods square, containing 8 lots. A main north-south street, eight rods wide was graded.” (Hartley 272) Although many fort inhabitants lived in dugouts, some began to build permanent homes on the lots made available.


The Butler Family

John Lowe Butler had two faming plots. Early in the year he went up Hobble Creek to help John W. Mott to build a threshing machine. He did the iron work and Bro. Mott the wood work. Upon its completion he made preparations to return to Fort Bridger for another summer’s work, taking plural wife Sarah and daughters, Charity and Keziah, also to earn money. they baked bread, washed and ironed and other things to help the gold-rush travelers. These people often traded off valuables. The girls obtained materials and clothing for themselves and other family members. The number of non-Mormon travelers diminished drastically in numbers. John had hired a helper, but there was nothing for him to do, so he sent him and the girls into the LDS settlements. He returned home briefly in August, consecrating his property to the church on August 16th, but didn’t make the move back to Spanish Fork until after the last of September. (Hartley 273, 276) “his consecration deed is important, not only as a testament of the family’s faith but also as an inventory of what the family possessed in 1856.” His total assets were but $2,022.00, which he gave freely, a great sacrifice in that very difficult circumstance. (Hartley 267,277)


The Redd Family

John Hardison Redd was active in civic affairs. on May 7, 1855 the first election in Spanish fork was held. he was elected to the position of alderman with tree other men. nine men were elected as councilors, among them were Bishop William Pace, sons Wilson D. and Harvey A. Pace, John Lowe Butler and George W. Sevey.

While there was a minor grasshopper infestation in the summer of 1854, it came after most of the crops were harvested. In the spring of 1855 eggs laid in 1854 hatched in terrifying numbers. John Lowe Butler felt that he was witnessing a historic pestilence, even worse, perhaps, than the locust plagues that ravaged the field of Egypt during Moses’ time. (Hartley 274-276) Almost everything was lost. When the hoppers finally left in a great could as suddenly as they had come, inhabitants replanted their crops in hopes of a harvest and feed for their cattle.


After an almost total loss of crops the people of Spanish Fork faced yet another disaster, a killer winter. “Deep snows and subfreezing temperatures took the cattle by the thousands.” They had to severely ration what they had to try to make it last until harvest. the Butlers turned their cow out to pasture only to have it taken and eaten by the Indians-also on the verge of starvation. Then another plague-measels. Nine at one time in his family. Almost everyone had it. they survived on fish, milkweeds and bran.

The Butler and Redd families began the year with a joyous occasion, the marriage of John H. Redd’s son, Lemuel Hardison Redd and Keziah Jan Butler, on January 2nd, and later sealed in the Endowment House in salt Lake City, February 16, 1858.

That month John Hardison Redd was called on a mission to Las Vegas. He couldn’t go by himself without his wife so fitted out this young couple, Lemuel and Keziah. That summer John Hardison married Mary Lewis age 17 and made plans to go to Las Vegas in the fall. The few months Lemuel and Keziah were in Las Vegas were during the hot part of the summer, and they felt the brunt of it. They went for the purpose of making a settlement and of opening up some lead mines there. These mines were important. The people in the Salt Lake Valley needed lead for bullets. The prophet Brigham Young knew theyd need them, for Johnsons army was coming the next year. But when the settlers in Las Vegas opened up the mines, they didnt find lead; they found only sliver, which wouldnt make good bullets. The church did not approve of mining for gold and silver, and so the mission was closed, and Lemuel and Keziah were released to return to Spanish Fork. (Redd 39)

Fort St. Luke and Fort Palmyra were only two mile apart. This was too close together, and dissensions arose as to which bishop had authority over cattle getting in each other’s space. The matter was brought to the attention of President Brigham Young. Bishop William Pace was called on a mission to England and John Lowe Butler was made bishop after Bishop Markham of the lower settlement was released. (Hartley 283)

It took a great deal of work to combine the two settlements. Palmyra had the most people, some of them reluctant to move, but in their condition they had to work together to survive. While the men built new homes, the women and children foraged for roots and greens to supplement their meager diet of fish, During the summer many people also had their shanties burned to the ground, compounding the problems.

In December if 1856, during a bitter winter, the inhabitants of Spanish Fork went five wagons and teams to help rescue the saints of the handcart company. Working together with their northern neighbors, these poor saints were clothed, fed and housed. Spanish Fork received many of them.

In September the First Presidency initiated a reformation, a “crusade to generate greater spirituality among the Saints – the Mormon Reformation. Bishop Butler went to Salt Lake for his rebaptism and instructions as Bishop, then returned, and held a special ward conference on Sept. 27-29. Many of our people were rebaptized. (Hartley 297)


A Peaceful Interlude of the Butlers

John Lowe Butler was sealed to three wives on March 9th, 1857, and to another, his eight, on September 8th of the same year. (Hartley 303) Caroline, the mother of his twelve children who had seen him through their many trials, was not happy about his taking plural wives. John’s mind was “drawn out to God” for an answer. Obedience to the “principle” was the key to blessings. He had done the right thing, and his family has been blessed, in raising up a righteous posterity, the main reason for polygamy in those days. (Harley 303-305)

John was heavily involved with his work as a Bishop. The men were working the land, digging new ditches, erecting fences etc. In June and July he was instructed to save tithing hay. He was also to send all tithing sheep to Salt Lake City. (Ottesen 14)

On July 24th news came to Brigham Young about the coming of Johnston’s Army. Spanish Fork residents made the same preparations for their safety as their neighbors to the north. When the Saints moved south for this threat, many of them came to Spanish Fork. The militia (Nauvoo Legion) was mustered on August 17th in readiness. John had the rank of major and was given command of two companies. (Hartley 311)

That year also was the creation of Spanish Fork’s Indian farm to teach them how to raise grain and manage livestock. (Harley 314)

The women were involved too. “John’s ability to carry out his time-consuming duties depended in large measure on Caroline and the other wives being able to produce much of the food and clothing the Butler family needed. (Hartley 324)


John Hardison Redd Family

January 5th to the 8th, John Hardison Redd and son Lemuel went to the county clerk’s office in Provo. John deeded land to Lemuel. He then deeded all of his remaining possessions to the Church, some $2,350.00. On June 15th, 1858, John Hardison Redd died as a result of being kicked by a horse. This left only his son, Benjamin Jones Redd, his wife, Mary and a one year old child in his immediate family, along with his black servants. (Redd 221-228)

John Lowe Butler Family

January 5th, 1858, John bought 20 acres of land from son-in-law, George W. Sevey for $100, and the next month his son, Taylor, had two lots surveyed for himself. (Hartley 332)

“In the midst of much community excitement over new people moving in and the expected arrival of the federal army, John Lowe Butler’s plural wife, Henrietta, gave birth to her first child, Isabella Elizabeth, on June 11th, 1858.” (Hartley 331)

“By mid-1858, the war threat was over, but John continued to labor in the thick of Spanish Fork’s religious, civic, and economic affairs.” When moving south, Archibald Gardner, one of Salt Lake Valley’s leading millers became a business partner with John, and the two of them opened a sawmill in 1858, and a grist mill in December 1859 (Hartley 337,339).


John Lowe Butler’s health began to fail, but there was joy in the family. His plural wife, Lovisa, on Christmas Eve day 1858 “gave birth to daughter, Lovisa.” (1:342) By Spring “he was too ill to carry the full load as bishop,” John Berry was called to be president to relieve him somewhat. On May 20, 1859, John started his autobiography. “My health is very poor at this time and has been for near two years, on the decline. I shall make a short account of my life up to the present that my wives and children can have my testimony to look at after I am gone behind the vale….I have had the palpitation of the heart very bad lately.” (Hartley 344)

1860 -John Lowe Butler’s final days

The Gardner-Butler grist mill was in operation and a large school house had been completed. His wives, Caroline, Sarah and new plural wives are reported to be actively engaged in the Relief Society, the only one in three in Utah to survive the episode with Johnston’s Army. John and Caroline’s eight year old son, Thomas, was baptized on November 6, 1859. Spanish Fork had a total of 1,041 residents.

“Sensing he was dying [April], John called his children in to talk to them, and “bore a most wonderful testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ…’the greatest desire of his heart was that his children and children’s children would be and remain faithful’ to the religion to which he had devoted his life.” John died on April 10, 1860. (Hartley 347) The rest of his story is told in the pages of Hartley’s book My Best for the Kingdom and Lura Redd’s The Utah Redds and Their Progenitors.

John Lowe Butler Grave

The Redd’s Black Family – a brief account from Aunt Lura’s book

Venus and Chaney were nurses and midwives. Their whole lives had been spent caring for white people. They came to Utah of their own free will and choice. After the Redds were gone from Spanish Fork they made their living helping the sick. (Redd 40) They were baptized by John D. Lee on Jun 17th, 1843 in Tennessee. (Redd 186) When Lemuel H. Redd was called to settle New Harmony in 1862, Luke, a son of one of the women, and Benjamin Jones Redd, John Hardison Redd’s remaining son were the cattle herders, tenders, and drivers on the trip south. (Redd 265)

Some Births, Marriages and Deaths during early days in Palmyra and Spanish Fork

Ann Mariah Redd married Wilson Daniel Pace, 22 Aug. 1852.

Ann Elizabeth Redd married Harvey Alexander Pace, 28 Aug 1853. They had five children, 1852-1862 in Spanish Fork where two of as infants died. They had seven more in New Harmony where three died in infancy.

Charity Artemisia Butler married Hamilton Monroe Wallace 4 Oct 1854 – divorced.

Caroline Elizabeth Butler married George Wilkins as 2nd wife, 8 Apr 1857.

Sarah Adeline Butler married Philo Allen (2nd marriage) 9 Mar 1854.

Alvaretta Farozine Butler, born to John Lowe Butler and wife Caroline, 26 Mar 1854. Their last child.


13 Jun 1852 – John Hardison Redd, Elizabeth Hancock Redd, Lemuel Hardison Redd, John Holt Redd and Benjamin Jones Redd. Their two colored women were also baptized. James Butler, 1855 and Thomas Butler, 1859.

The Holt Family (From Hartley 239-420)

John Holt died soon after arriving in Spanish Fork. John H. Redd listed $2.50 for settling Holt’s estate, all accounts settled dated 28 Sep 1850. holt was in Payson 20 Dec 1850. he lived in a dugout near the Markham farm by the old sugar factory. They moved into the lower for with son, Jesse Payton Holt, who helped build in Palymyra. with John Holt and Mary Redd Holt, his wife, were mary Jane Redd, mary Redd Holt, Mary Mariah (Polly), Hot Redd, Sarah Naomi Carr Holt (daughter-in-law) – all buried in the same plot in Spanish Fork Cemetery. Children: Nancy, Drucilla (d. 1881) in Spanish Fork, married 2nd to Samuel Thompson in 1849, John Holt Redd-not a church member

William Nathaniel Holt died 6 Dec 1888 Spanish Fork married 28 Jul 1853 Patience Dolly Childs. Also had a second wife.

Sarah Ann Holt died in Salt Lake City. Husband, Furney Fold Tindrall killed south of Payson by Indians. They lived in salt Lake City. She died 1 may 1852.

Mary Maria Holt died 8 May 1814 in Spanish Fork, married Daniel Eakes in Tennessee (divorced), married Lemuel Hardison Redd 5 Nov 1879. Later lived with her brother, Jesse Payton Holt until her death.

Jesse Payton Holt married 30 Nov 1856, Sarah Naomi Carr. (Jesse had her sealed to him. He took a 2nd and 3rd wife and lived many years in Spanish Fork in an adobe home in the bottoms.

John Lowe Butler Family 1852-1860

Kenion Taylor Butler, age 21 married Olive Durfey, age 18, Dec 5,1854

William Alexander Butler, died in infancy

Charity Artemisia Butler, married 2nd Amos G. Thornton

John Lowe Butler Jr. married Nancy Franzetta Smith, 23 Jun 1873

Lucy Ann Butler married Joseph Penn Barton 8 Oct 1866.