Biographical sketch of Orville Sutherland Cox, continued

5 Manti

He arrived at the future site of Manti November 19, 1849. The journey from Salt Lake City to the Sanpete valley occupied one month, breaking new roads, fixing fords, and building dug-ways. The forty families worked industriously, sometimes only moving forward two or three miles. One six mile stretch in Salt Creek Canyon occupied them a whole week. The only settlement between Salt Lake and Manti was Provo, consisting of a little fort of green cottonwood logs.

After getting through Salt Creek Canyon in two weeks, they worked to their utmost strength for it began snowing on them there; and it was far from being a desirable winter’s home. That winter was one of the hardest with the heaviest snow fall for many succeeding years. Arriving at their destination, camp was made by the Morley’s company on the south side of Temple Hill which was a sheltered spot. Now they must do their utmost in canyons, raising log cabins; sawing lumber on the saw pit, which was the most primitive of saw mills.

Orville was an expert at hewing and squaring the logs with his ax, and making everything as comfortable as possible in their new home. All winter long they had to help the cattle find feed by shoveling snow in the meadows, and the snow lay four feet deep. It was may before the snow was gone so that the men could begin to clear the ground and begin their farming. Then there came irrigating ditches to dig and the usual labor of clearing, plowing, and planting.

Between their individual duties, they found time to build log school and a bowery, and then a meeting house. They felt that it was quite commodious. Here in the long evenings of the winter of 1850-1 Cox taught a singing and dancing school. Sarah Petty was the first school Ma’am. In the winter of 1850-1, school was taught by Jesse W. Fox. In 1850 he was elected Alderman.

O. S. Cox married Mary Allen July 3, 1853; he served many years as the first counselor to Bishop Lowry, and he was captain of the Militia. He was very energetic in the performance of his duties, especially through the protracted period of the Walker war. He married Eliza Losee June 22, 1859. He served under Major Higgins, an old Battalion veteran.

This is the O S Cox rock house in Manti.
(Click to enlarge)

O S Cox house

To be sure, nobody appreciated more than he did a liberty pole, and all that it typified, so he was commissioned to find one at the earliest convenient moment for Manti; this he did in1850. Ten years he labored faithfully for the up building of Manti, and then like Boon and Crockett, “he wanted more elbow room” and moved to Fairview, Sanpete county. He also moved part of his family to Gunnison (Hog Wallow, it was called then) and raised two crops there. In February 1864, he moved part of his family to Glenwood, built a cabin there and raised a crop. He sold out and moved elsewhere to engineer ditches. He engineered over forty ditches in Utah and Nevada, as near as his children can remember in 1910, as well as doing all other kinds of pioneer work.