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The Old Porterville Ward





PORTERVILLE WARD, Morgan Stake, Morgan Co., Utah, consists of Latter-day Saints residing on both sides of East Canyon Creek, in the southwest part of Morgan County. The settlers on the east side of the creek center in a village known as East Porterville, and those on the west side in a similar village known as West Porterville. From 1877 to 1897 these two villages, with their surroundings, existed as two distinct wards. The meeting house is a brick building on the west side of East Canyon Creek.

Porterville Ward received its name from a numerous family of Porters who located there. Sanford Porter, a Utah pioneer of 1847, had settled with his family in Centerville, Davis Co., Utah, where he presided as Bishop from 1852 to 1855. In 1869 he located on land which later became the site of East Porterville, where he built a log cabin. But previous to this (in 1854) some of his family commenced the erection of a saw mill in Hardscrabble Canyon; that mill was finished in 1857, after which lumber for building purposes was exported to Centerville. This mill, known locally as "Sam Brough's Shingle Mill," was still in use as late as 1891. In 1859 Warriner Ahaz Porter, Joseph Rich Porter and others made a road from the mill to the valley below and also a road through Weber Canyon to Salt Lake Valley. In the summer of 1860 Chauncey Warriner Porter and Sanford Porter, jr., joined their father on East Canyon Creek. The following year John P., Joseph R. and Alma Porter, Thomas Spackman, Henry Hort and others came to the settlement, and regular L. D. S. meetings were commenced in private cabins, in charge of Chauncey W. Porter, who acted under the direction of Bishop Thomas Jefferson Thurston.

Samuel Adams was the first settler on the west side of East Canyon Creek or at West Porterville. He located there in 1863 and was soon afterwards joined by Aaron Smethurst, William Dearden and others. Nearly all the settlers on the west side of East Canyon Creek were of English extraction, while those on the east side were Americans. In 1864 the Adams family sold most of their claims to be used for town lots, their location being the most suitable for a townsite. Log school houses were erected in both East Porterville and West Porterville in 1864.

Pres. Chauncey Warriner Porter died in 1868, and his brother, Lyman Wight Porter, took charge of the branch for about a year, when he was succeeded by Alma Porter, who presided until 1875, when the branch was divided into two branches, namely, East Porterville and West Porterville. After this Alma Porter presided over the East Porterville Branch until both branches were organized as separate bishop's wards in 1877.

At an important meeting held at East Porterville Aug. 22, 1897, East Porterville Ward and West Porterville Ward were again amalgamated into one ward called Porterville Ward. At this time Joseph Durrant was chosen as Bishop. Soon afterwards the erection of a substantial rock and brick meeting house, located on the west bank of East Canyon Creek, was commenced and finished in 1899 at a cost of about $5,000. At this time the Porterville Ward had a membership of about 300.

Bishop Durrant was succeeded in 1907 by Samuel Stephen Florence, who was succeeded in 1916 by Joseph Durrant (second term), who was succeeded in 1917 by George Edward Carter, who was succeeded in 1920 by Hyrum K. Porter, who was succeeded in October, 1926, by Thomas Carter, who was succeeded in December of the same year by Howard Durrant, who was succeeded in 1927 by Daniel Carter, who presided Dec. 31, 1930. On that date the ward had 266 members, including 64 children.

 
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