Excerpts from the History of Tooele County (pp 224,225)

by - Daughters of the Utah Pioneers


In his biography, Benjamin Franklin Barrus states: "In 1855 the grasshoppers came so thick they darkened the sun, and destroyed the crops."

A Grantsville History states, "In 1855 the grasshoppers destroyed nearly all the crops at Grantsville. Millions of them fell on the Great Salt Lake in such very large heaps that they made a floating island about a mile long and about three inches deep. When a south wind prevailed this floating island was blown way out into the lake. The dead grasshoppers generally floated on to the shore finally."

Edward W. Tullidge in his history writes: "In 1855 the crickets came down out of the mountains west of the town in immense numbers. In view of the danger, the citizens convened to plan measures to save their growing crops, as individual effort alone could do but little to avert the impending calamity. They organized by appointing John W. Cooley, a leading citizen and farmer, Captain. They separated to come together again the following morning to consider proposed plans. The plan suggested by captain Cooley was adopted. the cattle, sheep and horses of the settlement were collected together and driven in a compact a mass as possible back and forth over the ground, black with these uncanny ill-starred insects. When this operation had reached a satisfactory stage, a field-roller was substituted for the animals and the labors of the day terminated with almost the entire destruction of the pest. Not enough of them reached the crops to do any noticeable damage, and the settlement has not been troubled with them since. The women and children, as well as the men, turned out to battle with the common enemy using brush sticks and every available weapon, and doubtless the day will find a place in the future traditions of the people.

The people of Grantsville have suffered considerably from grasshoppers in common with the county, but still the settlers think that the Great Salt Lake has afforded them and the county some protection. When their flight has been from the north, such immense quantities of them have perished in the briny waters that the wind has driven them ashore so as to form winnows from one to three feet in depth, and extending for several miles along the shore. Large quantities were pickled and remained for several years."

Benjamin Barrus in his writing tells of the Johnston's Army coming "To civilize the Mormons". That was in 1857 when "Every able bodied man and boy was to go to Echo Canyon to hedge up the way of the army."

According to Tooele County History, Benjamin F. Barrus and Ruel Barrus were among the volunteers from Grantsville. Under command of Wilford Hudson, they reached Salt Lake City within twenty four hours. When they reported at six o'clock, twenty of the thirty five men were mounted on horses. The rest had walked the thirty five miles to reach there. They were exhausted, poorly clad, and some had bleeding feet, without shoes or stockings. There was scarcely a blanket apiece among them. They were sent to Echo Canyon, where they spent the winter preparing fortifications.

In April the people were instructed to leave their homes and travel south. Most of the Grantsville people stopped at Spring Creek south of Payson, Utah. They had food but were poorly clad, some destitute and in rags. They were fearful of what would happen if the army should try to occupy their homes. Orders had been given to burn all buildings and destroy all crops if the army tried to do so.

No wonder Benjamin F. Barrus wrote, "When the treaty of peace was signed, we all swung our hats in the air, and made a rush for home."

It was on the last day of July 1857 when the news came from the President of the United States that Johnston's Army was being sent to subdue the "Rebellious Mormons." Governor Brigham Young issued a call for the Territorial Militia, known at that time as the Nauvoo Legion.




Account of Grantsville becoming an incorporated city.

Emery Barrus elected member of City Officers.

1867 --

By act of the Territorial Legislature approved Jan. 12, 1867, Grantsville became an incorporated city. Section 1 of the organic act read as follows:

Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislature Assembly of the Territory of Utah: That all that district of Country embraced in the following boundaries in Tooele County, to wit: Commencing two and one half miles due east from a point known as the lumber bridge situated on the county road running through Grantsville in Tooele County, thence south two miles, thence west four and a half miles, thence north four and a half miles, thence east four and a half miles thence south two and one half miles to the place of beginning, shall be known and designated under the name and style of Grantsville; and the inhabitants thereof are hereby constituted a body of coporated politic by the name aforesaid, and shall have perpetual succession, and may have and use a common seal, which they may change later at pleasure.

Section 3 provides for the government of said city government and reads; The municipal government of said city is hereby vested in a city council to be composed of a Mayor, three Aldermen, and five councilors, who shall have the qualification of electors of said city, and shall be chosen by the qualified voters thereof, and shall hold their office for two years and until their successors are elected and qualified.

The act provides that the election for city officers shall be held on the first Monday of March, but the time was afterward changed by the Legislature to the time of the general election in August of each year.

The members-elect of the first city of Grantsville met on June 4, 1867, and organized, with Cyrus William Bates, Mayor. The names of members were obtained from the general minutes of the meeting. They were: Ara William Sabin, Emery Barrus, Edward Hunter, William C. Martindale, James Wrathall, Arvet L. Hale, John Felt, and William C. Rydalch. (the first three listed may have been the Aldermen, being the next in line under the Mayor) the Council appointed William Jeffries, recorder and treasurer; Alma H. Hale, marshall; Samuel W. Wooley, Assessor and collector and James Kearl, Street Supervisor.

(The above taken from page 15 of a typed compilation of news articles and Grantsville History as written by Edward Tullidge, Historian.)

Page 16 gives the following information:

1869 --

The City Council, after the election of 1869, consisted of William Jeffries, Mayor; James McBride, Emery Barrus, William Lee, Aldermen; John W. Clark, Harrison Severe, John Felt, George Whittle, Arvet L. Hale, Councilors and Thomas Williams, Recorder.

1870 --

On March 11, 1870, William Jeffries having resigned the office of Mayor, Emery Barrus was appointed by the council. Benjamin F. Barrus was appointed Alderman and Lyman Severe was appointed councilor to fill vacancies occasioned by the resignations. Emmanuel J. Bagley was appointed Alderman.

Copy of a footnote on page 192 of the "Founding and Development of Grantsville" by Alma Gardiner:

It has been averred by some Grantsville residents that Emery Barrus, and not Cyrus W. Bates was the city's first Mayor. The initial twenty pages of the "Minutes of the Grantsville City Council", as recorded from 4 June 1867 to April 26, 1868, definitely place Cyrus W. Bates "In the Chair" and show Emery Barrus to be one of the councilors. Further the minutes of March 11, 1870, which give an account of a reorganization of the Grantsville City council, show Emery Barrus unanimously elected by the group to succeed William Jeffries who had resigned. This would make Mr. Barrus the third Mayor of Grantsville.

** Minutes of the Grantsville City Council June 4, 1867 to April 22, 1868, Book A pp 1-20 (In the vault of the Grantsville City Hall)


Alma Gardiner, in his book, pp 200-201 states; "Mayor Barrus had a challenging assignment, but proved himself equal to the task as he brought about a spirit of unity in the City Council and elicited the respect of citizens for civil authority during the first year of his service to the City."


NOTE: In chapter VIII "The Municipal Government and It's Problems," One finds a wealth of information concerning the problems and the progress in the solving of them, and the part the Mayor and members of the City Council played in their years of service. pp 190-274.


On pp 445-6 the following shows the names of the members of the Barrus family who served as Mayor:


3 Emery Barrus Apr 1870 - July 1871 Elected - resigned

17 O. H. Barrus Jan 1893 - Dec 1893 Elected

30 Monte Barrus Jul 1913 - Dec 1913 Elected

49 Burt Barrus Jan 1948 - Dec 1949 Elected

50 Burt Barrus Jan 1950 - Dec 1951 Elected

Emery Barrus served as Alderman after his term of Mayor.



1850 - 1950


Alma A. Gardiner

In 1862, in response to a second call to Grantsville from church authorities, four ox teams and men went to the Missouri River after the more unfortunate members. The teamsters were Benjamin Barrus, Alma H. Hale, William Crowther, and James M. Murray. James Kearl went as a night guard. Likewise in 1863 and 1864 teams were sent to the Missouri River after the poor. Charles L. Anderson and Orrin Barrus went in 1866 to bring the poor from Missouri, and the final response to the calls of the Church Authorities was made in 1868. Such was the devoted response of the Pioneers of Grantsville, and with no thought of earthly reward.

COMMENTS: The first call was made in 1861, it left April 20, 1861. The above states 1862 to be the year of the response for the second call. It probably began in April too. Uncle Benny was born 30 May 1838. He married Lovina Ann Steele on her seventeenth birthday (According to date given on Family Group Sheet), 29 SEP 1861. This would mean that he made the trip about seven months after their marriage. So, by the time he left, she must have been carrying his child, a son, born 25 AUG 1862. Did he return in time for the birth? Where did she live while he was gone? He would have been between 23 and 24 years old when he left to go east. It would be interesting to know the details of his trip.

The Orrin Barrus who made the trip in 1866 must have been Benjamin Franklin's brother Orrin Barrus. He was born 17 SEP 1845, making him 21 hears of age, and still single. The family record states he married 11 DEC 1871.

The Alma H. Hale that accompanied the teamsters on the second call was my grandfather's brother, and a descendant of the Thomas Hale and Mary Hutchinson who are direct ancestors of Lovina Ann Steele.

The son that was born to Benjamin and Lovina and born 25 AUG 1862 lived a short time. He died 4 OCT 1863. Luella Cline Clark, in her letter, mentions that five of their children died young. One of them from Black Canker. Colonel Kane in his lecture "The Mormons" from data, reported 600 burials at Winter Quarters before cold weather brought the camp relief. In one of the camps on the west of the river as early as the 31st of July, he reports 37 per cent of it's members down with fever and a sort of "Scorbutic disease, frequently fatal, which they (the Saints) named the "Black Canker".

On 16 AUG 1873, the City Council consisted of Edward Hunter, Mayor, George Whittle, John W. Cooley, Benjamin F. Barrus, Alderman; Anders Nelson, John W. Clark, James McBride, Hyrum Booth, Thomas Williams, Councilors; Emmanuel Bagley, Recorder; on December 5, 1874 Emmanuel Bagley resigned and was succeeded by Anders Gustav Johnson.

1874 --

Edward W. Tullidge, the historian, writes: The fact stands well to the front in the history of the founding of the early settlements of Utah, that the hardy pioneers who located them after making some necessary preparations to raise food for their families and to shelter them from the elements, turned their early and earnest attention to the education of their children.

Grantsville has not been behind any of the first colonies of Utah in this matter. At an early period the leading citizens began to reflect seriously on the necessity of something better for the education of their children than the ordinary district school although these were kept up to the best practicable standard. This desire for improvement was manifested by action of the city council as early as April 25, 1874. At that date a committee which had been previously appointed to make arrangements for organizing a public institute for learning, made a written report, which was filed. Also William C. Martindale Jr., John W. Cooley, and Benjamin F. Barrus from the council and William R. Judd and Emmanuel Bagley, private citizens, were appointed a Board of Trustees for the Institute. While the desire of the people thus found expression through their city fathers, it was too early for the practicable realization of the idea.

1877 --

When the Tooele Stake of Zion was organized at a special conference held at Tooele City, June 24, 1877, Edward Hunter was sustained as Bishop of the Grantsville Ward with William C. Rydalch as his first and John F. Rich as his second counselor. These brethren were all ordained and set apart to their respective offices at an adjourned meeting of the same conference held the following day, June 25th, at Grantsville. On that occasion, Benjamin F. Barrus was sustained as President of the Elders Quorum for the Grantsville Ward with Anders Nielsen as first and Thomas Williams as second counselor. Sven Sandberg was appointed president of the Deacons Quorum with Sven Erickson and Owen H. Barrus as counselors.

Elders Emery Garrus [ed. note: Barrus?] and Ruel M. Barrus were set apart for missions to the United States, 6 DEC 1879. They both returned in the spring of 1880.

Ruel M. Barrus was an Alderman in 1885

Orrin Orlando Barrus was set apart for a mission to the Samoan Island 11 AUG 1895 and returned 20 JUN 1897.

Albert Almon Barrus was set apart for a mission to the Southern States 17 NOV 1897 and returned in 1898 owing to poor health.

Ulysses S. Cline was set apart for a mission to the Southern States 16 NOV 1898 and returned in August 1899, sick (Tooele Transcript August 25, 1899)

The numerical strength of the Grantsville Ward 31 DEC 1900 was 1,080 souls (210 families) including 3 Patriarchs (John W. Clark, Benjamin F. Barrus, Samuel W, Wolley), 35 High Priests, 54 Seventies, 76 Elders, 11 Priests, 7 Teachers, 59 Deacons, 584 lay members, and 248 children under 8 years of age.

(Y.M.M.I.A. Albert Almon Barrus, Pres.)

In about 1871, a school of the Prophets was started, a school for the education of the men of the church. They were taught the principles of the Gospel, and instructed in the policies of the church, pertaining to civil and domestic affairs. Men from Grantsville, by appointment, attended meetings in Salt Lake City conducted by Brigham Young and his councilors, and brought back information to the local group. Listed with the enrollment of more than one hundred men are the names of:

Owen E. Barrus

Benjamin F. Barrus

Ruel Barrus

Emery Barrus

FROM: PP 428-9 The Founding and Development of Grantsville, Utah 1850-1950 by Alma Gardiner.




The Homestead Act, an act of Congress, was passed in 1862, authorizing the sale of public lands in parcels of 160 acres each to settlers. In some of the information read, Benjamin F. Barrus owned a quarter section (160) acres at one time. It is possible the two story adobe home, which still stands, and now owned by Richard Castagno, 333 Est Main, was built about that time. In a report made by Thomas H. Clark in a letter to the Deseret News regarding the conference on March 1 & 2, 1856, held in Grantsville, some of the settlers were beginning to build finer homes of a light-colored clay found northwest of the settlement. The beds there furnished clay which made firm adobe bricks.

I called Ann Dunyan at the Tooele County Court House to see if there was a record to help determine the time the Barrus home was built. The records there are far from being accurate. A date of 1895 was given. She and I felt that to be in error. Why? Let me explain my reasoning:

I was born 22 AUG 1905 to John William and Janet Anderson. We were living on a ranch in the southeast part of town. The Barrus home was on Main Street, north side, Section 31. When I was a year old Benjamin approached Father about buying land to the west of his home and Father was happy to accept the offer. The land was in excellent condition. A small orchard was growing well. There were apple and pear trees producing a variety of fruit to be eaten fresh or dried for the winter storage and some to share with other families. Between the orchard and the front fence was a large garden area, and between it and the Barrus property a place for a future home for us.

About a year later, my father was working on the property he had purchased when he as approached again. Would he and Net like to buy an addition that had been built on the west end of the original two-story adobe structure? This was in 1907. How long it had been built is not certain, but the county records for our home is listed as 1907, the year it was purchased and moved over on the lot secured the year before. The last eight of my brothers and sisters were born there, Ronald on 9 DEC 1907 being the first one. The four room structure was put together with square nails, hand hewn studding, hand split lath covered with plaster outside and white washed. The only other date entered on the County record was that of 1895. Since the addition father bought was not a new one, 1895 could have been the year it was built, making it at least twelve years old then and 93 years old to date, 1988.

Benjamin and Lovina were married in 1861, a year before the Homestead Act was passed. His father, Emery Barrus, built some of the first barns and homes in the settlement. I am sure that he and his sons, along with their families would have participated in the use of adobes in building the finer homes of that time period. The materials used and the type of construction is like that of the earlier period rather than that of the later addition sold to John and Net in 1907. The eighteen inch adobe brick walls, the low rock foundation, and rock storage pit (about 4 feet square by 2 1/2 - 3 feet deep) with a trap door in the six inch rough floor boards in the center of the ground floor, the hand hewn studding, large beams, and square nails were definitely of the earlier period, sturdy and finished with permanence in mind, with material and tools available in those earlier pioneer settlement days. It is my guess that the home is 125 to 132 years old to date, 1988.

When the main floor was partitioned off to make a kitchen, parlor, and a very small bedroom I do not know, but when my husband and I purchased it years later, we removed those. They had been built of one by twelve inch rough planks fastened side by side and standing upright, covered with layers of wall paper. The designs woven in the Calico, and the color and print in each layer of wall paper could have almost dated when each was put on. Two doorways framed entrances between the kitchen and the other two rooms, but I don't remember any doors. It seems to me a curtain covered the one to the small bedroom when I visited in my youth.

The stairway was built on the inside west wall of the building, with the entrance near the northeast corner of the main room, and ending near the southwest corner of the larger upstairs room to the east of which were two small bedrooms. The ceilings of those rooms followed the contour of the roof since they were in the attic, and those partitions were built of hand hewn lath and were plastered.

I believe the most important object in the furnishing of their home was the large cook stove which stood by the stairwell in the center of the kitchen. A large round stovepipe extended from it up and through the ceiling and upstairs flooring to where a network of tees an y's and smaller pipes connected together, which served to carry heat and smoke to the chimneys at either end of the gable roof. To heat water carried from an outside well, prepare meals, take care of the laundry, and provide heat required a lot of firewood, cut and hauled by team and wagon from the foothills and canyons, but one could always find the woodshed filled with neatly piled firewood, not far from the north kitchen door.

A few pieces of furniture that I remember that may have been made by the men folks in the family, were a large cupboard, a table, and a bench by the door. The bench was used for a wash stand at one end, and a place for a water pail at the other, one with a dipper hanging from the upper rim. There was no plumbing in the house. A plank walk extended from the north door out back to the privy, then on to the workshop and storage room adjoining it. I don't think there was a child or adult in the neighborhood that didn't enjoy a visit to the workshop to watch Uncle Benny make brooms. Here is a quote from the History of Tooele County by Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers page 227, "A great improvement in housekeeping came when Benjamin F. Barrus brought some seeds for broom cane. He raised this successfully and made brooms, a wonderful improvement over the twig brooms they had been using. He made most of the brooms for years." I do not remember of using a broom in our home during my growing up years that hadn't been made by Uncle Benny, and I'll go farther to say I have never used a better quality broom in my life since, either house or whisk broom.

My brother, Ronald, has written some of his memories of our neighbors we grew up with, Barrus children all around us, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren of "Grandpa" and "Grandma" or "Uncle Benny" and Aunt "Lovina" as they were called. Out of love and respect for them, we adopted the usage of the same manner of speaking to them or of them. A close, friendly relationship grew between our families. There was almost daily contact with members large and small. I never tired of watching Uncle Benny and Aunt Lovina at work designing and hooking, on burlap, the colorful rugs they made from carpet rags she sewed together by hand.

The trees and flowers growing in the front yard made a pleasant place to linger. There were some rose bushes we thought to be especially beautiful, called cabbage roses. Sometimes when Aunts or Uncles or cousins came to visit from out of state, they made cuttings from them. Much care was taken to prepare for the transfer, the end of the stem being inserted in a raw potato with the eyes removed, and the whole thing wrapped in a wet cloth. I understood the cutting in the potato would be planted, the potato furnishing some of the moisture and food until roots developed. The top of the cutting was covered with a glass jar and kept there until the next growing season. I have had success growing rose bushes from cuttings but have never tried one in a potato, and I'm not positive my memory has kept the whole procedure as complete as it should be.

The corral was located to east of the house. A large hay barn, near the front fence, almost in the exact location of our present home, and was another place we children enjoyed. Climbing to the top of the hay to watch the barn swallows, beautiful birds with deeply forked "swallow tails," chestnut foreheads and throats, and buff underside. It was a delightful pastime to quietly observe them as they flew in and out of the west end of the barn in carrying out their efforts to build their nest with mud reinforced with plant material and lined with feathers. Nests that adhered to an upright position on the high beams of the barn. Last summer I saw swallows over to the Benson mill and millpond, the first I have seen for a number of years. I think they stopped coming to Grantsville when the irrigation ditches were done away with and the main sources of mud dried up. Many of the first barns built have been torn down too. We do not see other beautiful birds we used to, like the bluebirds, redwinged blackbirds, meadowlarks, and killdeers. It seems to me the sparrow and starling are the most prevalent today. Robins still herald spring.

Nell Marie Palmer Lamus reminded me of the bull Uncle Benny owned, kept in a fenced area east of the corral and barn. When she and her sister were children walking to and from school they were afraid of the bull. If it even looked like it was coming toward the fence where they were, they broke into a fast run for fear it would tear through after them. Their mother was a Barrus. They lived on the corner of Main and Willow Streets, and loved to visit with their relatives in the Benny and Lovina Barrus home.

Uncle Benny was a very good gardener. Both Ronald and I remember his planting peas in the early spring. After the peas were picked, the vines pulled, and the soil prepared, turnip seeds were planted in the same area. He felt that growing turnips to be harvested about the time of the first frost was the secret of success. During the growing season children of the neighborhood were treated to the sweetest and tastiest turnips ever eaten. That plot of turnips when harvested and stored along with other produce raised, provided food for the family.

It was a special privilege and honor to have had Patriarch Benjamin F. Barrus pronounce a blessing upon me. A Patriarch as defined in Webster's Dictionary, "One of the highest order of priesthood, especially empowered to invoke and pronounce blessings within a prescribed jurisdiction." Patriarch Barrus showed concern for me when he told mother he thought I was approaching the age when I should have one. I have always been grateful for that spiritual experience and for the inspiration it has given me throughout my life.

In connection with church work, I recently read some copies of minutes in Alma A. Gardiner's book, "The Founding and Development of Grantsville, Utah 1850 - 1950, on pages 162,3,4

At a 2 O'clock meeting held April 12, 1914 the minutes of the first recorded Sacrament Meeting of the new Grantsville Second Ward, states the opening prayer was given by B. F. Barrus. Among officers named: Bert Barrus, Ward clerk, Ward teachers: Bert Barrus, Owen H. Barrus, Benjamin F. Barrus, and Edward Barrus.

Owen and Benjamin took active part in the business concerning the division of property between the old 1st Ward and 2nd Ward, and the Pavilion grounds to be left undivided. Bert Barrus gave the closing prayer.

It was decided the Grantsville Academy should be the meeting place for the Grantsville Second Ward until plans for a new chapel and a probable building site be made. Later a meeting of ward members was held to decide upon one of the locations submitted by different members. At this meeting held May 17th, the location submitted by the Barrus brothers, who had offered to provide two acres of land for $1,510.00 was selected. The stipulated sum for the two acres on Main Street was given to George Barrus.

The new building was under way almost immediately. The brick laying commenced in September 1915. World War I brought restrictions in materials. The initial services were finally planned for early 1920, with Sacrament Meeting held Sunday February 29th at 2:00 PM. Complete minutes of which are given on pages 165,6. These minutes state the invocation was given by Patriarch Benjamin F. Barrus. (he had the honor of a special place to sit in our ward meetings, right by the podium.)